Art And Culture

Germany, Iran Move Into Literary, Cultural Territory

Germany, Iran Move Into Literary, Cultural Territory
Germany, Iran Move Into Literary, Cultural Territory

The deputy director of Book City Institute Ali Asghar Mohammadkhani, was in Berlin last week to work out the modalities of cooperation with literary and cultural institutes in Germany.

“Germany has a long history in Iran and Islam studies; but popularity of the majors in Iranology and Persian literature in European universities has gradually declined during the past two decades,” Mohammadkhani was quoted as saying by the institute on its website on Saturday.

“Due to market demand, students are attracted to other majors of orientology. If relevant Iranian centers do not promote effective cultural and scientific interaction through their patronage, European cultural enthusiasts will not have a true understanding of contemporary Iran and its cultural-scientific developments,” he said.

“I met the directors of ‘Hause fur Poesie’ (House of Poetry) and Literatur Haus Berlin (Berlin’s House of Literature). We agreed to exchange poets and writers in short-term study visits. We also agreed to publish a bilingual selection of contemporary poems by Persian and German poets.”

Both German houses provide opportunities for young poets and writers from various countries to visit and share their experience. It was decided to make more room for Persian poets and writers, he said.

“Though Iranology is deeply entrenched in Germany, it is often limited to ancient eras and classic literature. Persian contemporary literature has barely received any attention, unlike German literature and philosophy of modern times that are welcomed in Iran,” said Mohammadkhani.

“Each year, many books by contemporary German writers, philosophers and poets are translated into Persian; but similar Persian works are not translated into German. What German students and culture enthusiasts know about contemporary Persian literature is meager,” he pointed out.

 Joint Programs

After discussions with officials at the Iranian Embassy in Berlin and officials of Klassik Stiftung Weimar (Weimar Classics Foundation), a program titled ‘A Week with Goethe’ was agreed to be held in Tehran and in Shiraz at the Hafez Institute of Higher Education during the Fars Encyclopedia in 2019. The cultural office of Book City Institute will organize the program. It will be attended by directors of Weimar foundation and specialists in works of Goethe and Hafez, the two poets who have left prominent legacies in German and Persian literature.

Mohammadkhani compared Goethe and Friedrich Schiller (German poet and dramatist) with Hafez and Sa’di. To commemorate Sa’di Day (April 21), he said, conferences on Sa’di and Schiller are to be organized in Tehran, Shiraz and Berlin. Specialists in works of Sa’di and Schiller will participate in the event and discuss cultural and poetic characteristics and commonalities of the works.

“Iranian consulates in Germany have taken effective measures to bolster cultural ties between the two countries and promote Persian literature and Islamic culture and civilization. This initiative had a positive impact on the virtual media for German Iranologists and enthusiasts, and deserves support,” he said.