Kayvan Tahmasebian, Rebecca Ruth Gould

Published On


Page Range

pp. 420–455


  • English

Print Length

36 pages

8. The Translatability of Love

The Romance Genre and the Prismatic Reception of Jane Eyre in Twentieth-Century Iran

This essay examines how twentieth century Iranian readers situated Jane Eyre within the classical genre of romance literature (adabiyāt-i ʿāshiqāna), originating from the tradition of love narratives in verse (ʿishq-nāma) pioneered by the twelfth century Persian poet Nizami Ganjevi. While romance is only one among several of the original Jane Eyre’s modes of generic belonging, the translation and reception of Jane Eyre into Persian facilitated the novel’s generic recalibration. We show how the prohibition on romance literature following the 1979 Iranian revolution paved the way for foreign classics such as Jane Eyre to be read as romances in the classical sense of the term.


Kayvan Tahmasebian

Research Fellow at the Global Literary Theory project at University of Birmingham
Bahari Visiting Fellow in the Persian Arts of the Book at the Bodleian Libraries at University of Oxford

Kayvan Tahmasebian is a research fellow at the Global Literary Theory project (University of Birmingham) and a Bahari Visiting Fellow in the Persian Arts of the Book, at the Bodleian Libraries, Oxford. With Rebecca Ruth Gould he translated House Arrest: Poems of Hasan Alizadeh (2022) and High Tide of the Eyes: Poems by Bijan Elahi (2019).

Rebecca Ruth Gould

Professor of Islamic World and Comparative Literature at University of Birmingham

Rebecca Ruth Gould is the author of Writers and Rebels: The Literature of Insurgency in the Caucasus (2016), which won the University of Southern California Book Prize in Literary and Cultural Studies and the best book of the year award from the Association for Women in Slavic Studies, The Persian Prison Poem: Sovereignty and the Political Imagination (2021), and, most recently, Erasing Palestine: Free Speech and Palestinian Freedom, forthcoming in 2023. She is Professor of Islamic World and Comparative Literature, at the University of Birmingham, where she directs the ERC-funded Global Literary Theory Project.