Read his whole divan to know Hafez: De Fouchecour
The French Orientalist and Hafez expert Charles-Henri de Fouchecour is convinced that an individual can get to know Hafez better only if he reads the entire Divan of Hafez.To understand Hafez’s lyrics, one must begin from the very first ghazal and read to the last one, De Fouchecour told the Persian service of ISNA on Saturday.
De Fouchecour is famous for his translation of the Divan of Hafez. He served as the director of the Iranology Department of l’Institut Français in Tehran from 1975-1979.
“I was extremely interested in Persian culture and used to open the divan of Hafez and read his lyrics, but I did not understand the poetry. However, I was surprised to see Iranians are very interested in Hafez,” he added.
Once, an Iranian friend told me I have to try more and more and finally after five years of constant reading, I could translate 50 ghazals and was able to understand his language.
“I found out that Hafez has his own special language, which could be understood by those who are familiar with mysticism,” he said.
He next talked about to what extent the world is familiar with Hafez, saying, “In the early 19th century, the Germans began the translation of Divan of Hafez, but the French were more interested in Khayyam and Sadi. Only a selection of poetry by Hafez was translated into French but not the entire divan.
“Khayyam is world famous and his quatrains have been translated into many languages. Khayyam’s poetry is simple and deep and its translation is easier, but understating Hafez’s poetry is difficult,” he concluded.
De Fouchecour was the founder and director of Abstracta Iranica, a bibliographical and critical review of Iranian studies. He has published about 50 articles on Persian literature.