Art And Culture

Critical Appraisal Works Sluggish, Says Publisher

Critical Appraisal Works Sluggish, Says PublisherCritical Appraisal Works Sluggish, Says Publisher

Critical appraisals and discernment of artistic performances help artists to achieve stellar performances in their respective fields, says Emad Shaterian, director of the Tehran-based Bidgol Publications.

In Iran, however, works of critical appraisals are way behind. "This has made critical appraisal in artistic fields sluggish," he said, referring to the current status of art and theatrical literature in Iran and the role of critical appraisals in the publication industry, in a recent interview with IBNA.

When there are no solid references in critical theatrical literature, publishers tend "to underestimate the various artistic fields," he said. Bidgol has released a number of books on art and theatrical literature since its establishment seven years ago.

Publishers in Iran, including Bidgol, are reluctant to release books authored by Iranian writers, but would prefer to publish translations of foreign authors by Iranian translators, Shaterian said.

On why some publishers are at odds with each other, he said this is due to the lack of copy right. Sometimes, a few publishers translate certain authors simultaneously.

"The upside of such a parallel release is that the readers can choose between different translations. But a serious problem arises when unhealthy rivalry between publishers ensues, in which, a publisher tries to bring out the book sooner than others. In such cases, it is no wonder that translations are substandard."

"They are in such a rush to publish that they overlook a high number of conceptual and editing mistakes, which is shameful." However this is less frequent in the publication of artistic books.

  Original or Translation

As to why Bidgol Publications prefers translations over original works of Iranian authors, "the reason is marketability," he said. This part of the business cannot be ignored, "and a publisher who says otherwise, is not being honest."

Referring to research works, he said when publishing a work is not financially justifiable, a publisher will not venture into releasing it. "At Bidgol we have a different director for each category, and the works by Iranian researchers are often below certain standards," such as lack of inclusion of references and sources or an international approach.

"But we are more interested in making ourselves known in performing arts. Currently we have started publishing the complete works by Iranian playwright Bahman Forsi, 82, and playwright, screenwriter, theater director and researcher Mohammad Rezaee Rad, 49. We will continue publishing similar works of quality."

There is no risk involved for a publisher to release books by renowned figures such as Forsi. "We also released four books on photography which are authored by fiction writer, art critic, graphic artist and photographer Yurik Karim Masihi, 51. His books inspired other publishers to release works of similar quality."

Today, Bidgol is among the pioneers of theatrical literature in Iran. "Soon, we will publish various collections of Iranian plays," he added.