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                                        Volume. 12119

Persian monthly pays tribute to French translator of Shahnameh
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French Ambassador Bruno Foucher (4th from left) and a number of Iranian literati attended a ceremony held by the magazine Bokhara to commemorate Julius von Mohl, who translated the Shahnameh into French, at Tehran’s Persian Language Center on March 1, 2013. (Photo by ISNA)
French Ambassador Bruno Foucher (4th from left) and a number of Iranian literati attended a ceremony held by the magazine Bokhara to commemorate Julius von Mohl, who translated the Shahnameh into French, at Tehran’s Persian Language Center on March 1, 2013. (Photo by ISNA)
TEHRAN -- The Persian monthly on literature Bokhara commemorated the German Orientalist Julius von Mohl (1800–1876) for his French translation of the Shahnameh, the epic masterpiece of Persian poet Ferdowsi, during a ceremony in Tehran.
 
Bokhara Managing Director Ali Dehbashi, French Ambassador Bruno Foucher, Counselor for Cooperation and Cultural Action of the Embassy of France Henri Lebreton, Iranian scholar Jaleh Amuzegar, and a group of literati and cultural figures attended the ceremony on Friday evening, the Persian of ISNA reported on Saturday.
 
The French government commissioned Mohl to make a complete translation of the Shahnameh (Livre des rois) in 1826. The first volume of the book appeared in 1838, and the seventh and last was left unfinished at the time of Mohl’s death. French orientalist Charles Barbier de Meynard completed it.
 
“By his translation of the book, Mohl absolutely knew that he would make a substantial contribution to the introduction of a major poet to the literature of the world,” Foucher said in a short speech at the ceremony.
 
“He dedicated all his life to the study of Iran and the Iranian world,” he added.
 
Mohl used 35 manuscript versions of the Shahnameh, which are kept in Eurpoean libraries, to translate and to comment on the work, said Amuzegar.
 
“Mohl’s efforts for the Shahnameh were reflected in seven volumes, which the French government published beautifully in large size,” she added.
 
She said that the collection is one of the masterpieces of the printing industry during the nineteenth century,    
 
“For us Iranians, who consider the Shahnameh part of our national identity, Mohl is a hero who spent most of his life providing a careful and profound translation of our cultural masterpiece,” Amuzegar stated.  
 
The ceremony went on with a performance of naqqali, a style of storytelling dedicated to epic stories from the Shahnameh, by Amir Sadeqi.
 
In addition verses of the Shahnameh were recited in Persian and French by Hamed Fuladvand and Susan Sepehri.
 
Completed in 1010, the Shahnameh is a poem of nearly 60,000 verses. Ferdowsi versified and updated the story to the downfall of the Sassanid empire (mid-7th century), and, for nearly 1000 years, it has remained one of the most popular works in the Persian-speaking world.
 
Mohl was born at Stuttgart and studied theology at the University of Tubingen. He was nominated to a professorship at Tubingen from 1826 to 1833. However, he resigned his chair at Tubingen a year later and settled permanently in Paris. In 1844 he was nominated to the academy of inscriptions, and in 1847 he became professor of Persian literature at the College de France. 
 
His knowledge and interest extended to all departments of Oriental learning. He served for many years as secretary, and then as president of the Societe Asiatique.
 
His annual reports on Oriental science were presented to the society from 184o to 1867. After his death, the reports were collected in “Vingt-sept ans d’histoire des etudes orientales”, which was published in Paris in 1879.
 
MMS/YAW
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