A Persian love story in English: challenges and strategies in writing a cross-cultural Iranian novel in the romance genre for a global audience
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 18:16 by Behnaz Aghapour Khoei
This dissertation, comprising a creative writing research component and an accompanying novel titled Yousef’s Sooreh, aims to discover the challenges in writing cross-cultural romance fiction in English situated in Islamic contexts, such as in contemporary Iran. In its theoretical component – through the prism of postcolonial literature, diaspora/migrant literature, contemporary women’s/feminist literature, translation/linguistic studies, and popular-fiction/literary romance genre – it utilises hermeneutics and content/textual analysis of such texts as post-revolutionary Iranian migrant novels (both diasporic fiction and non-fiction), as well as a number of non-Iranian cross-cultural romances or love stories, in regard to writing styles, language, figurative approaches, imagery, and so on. Concurrently and parallel to the research, the creative writing component – a fictional romance novel set in contemporary Iran with all Iranian characters – serves as a practical guide that shows the way while shedding light on these challenges, particularly when dealing with passionate love among devout minority of Iranian Muslims, a realm in which no prior study has been carried out. This novel depicts problematic areas of representation, through a cultural and religious perspective – where collectivism, patriarchy, elders’ authority, rules of conduct between unrelated members of the opposite sex, and other cultural interactions and behaviours come into play, and can hinder the writing process in English – as well as taking a linguistic disciplinary approach where issues such as cultural translation from Persian, figures of speech, emotive variables, nonverbal language, untranslatable terms, glossing, annotation, and other linguistic issues become inevitable. It also explores the techniques and aesthetic possibilities of writing a cross-cultural romance that represents aspects of Iranian culture, life, and language for the global English-speaking readership, while focusing on Iranian minority of righteous Muslims.