Ebrahim Younesi, translating no more


Ebrahim Younesi, translating no more
by Multiple Personality Disorder

The Farsi translator of “A Tale of Two Cities” and “Spartacus” has died.  I am sure many of you have read at least one, or several, of his numerous translations.  Ebrahim Younesi, renowned Persian literary figure and translator, died on February 8, 2012, at the age of 85.

He was born in 1926-27 (exact day and month is unknown) in "Bahe" (بانه), in the province of Kurdistan, near Iran-Iraq border.

Before the August 19, 1953 Iranian coup d'etat, Younesi was an officer in the secret Tudeh Party Military Organization of Iran (سازمانِ نظامیِ حزبِ تودهِ ایران).  After the coup and overthrow of the Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh, he was arrested and sentenced to death by execution; however his execution sentence was reduced to life imprisonment because he had lost one of his feet while serving in the military in the freezing cold of Orūmīyeh.  He spend many years in prison, including one year in solitary confinement.  While he was in prison he learned the French language from his fellow prison-mates.

After the 1979 Iranian Revolution, he was appointed as the governor (استاندار) of Kurdistan Province during Mehdi Bazargan interim government, but three months later, Younesi resigned from this post.

Younesi has written several books in the Persian language, translated eighty books from English to Farsi, and one book from French to Farsi.  Most of the books he translated are world renowned masterpieces (see a partial list below).

A couple of years ago, he was inflicted with Alzheimer disease and spent the rest of his life in need of care, which in that regard he said, "I have no money to spend on medical treatment abroad.  I only receive a meager retirement pension."

Iran has lost another one of its treasures.

A partial list of his literary translations:

"A Tale of Two Cities" and "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens

"Spartacus" by Howard Fast

"A Pair of Blue Eyes", "Far From The Madding Crowd", "Jude The Obscure", and "The Return Of The Native" by Thomas Hardy

"A History of Russian Literature", in ten volumes, by D. S. Mirsky (Dmitry Petrovich Svyatopolk-Mirsky)


Mehr News Agency (ابراهیم یونسی, نویسنده و مترجم) >>>

Iran Book News Agency >>>

Wikipedia >>>

BBC >>>


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by yolanda on

Wow! He was quadrulingual! Amazing!

His legacy lives on!

I have not been on IC very much lately 'cause I am following "Linsanity" of New York Knicks!

I am looking forward to Oscar! Less than 10 days away!

Thank you all for the funeral photos!


Esfand Aashena

Younesi's funeral pictures.

by Esfand Aashena on

Esfand Aashena

آگاهی‌‌های ترحیم یونسی در تهران in PDF

Esfand Aashena


Click on page 15 of the below link:


The ad is good for few days, if not just today. 

Everything is sacred

Multiple Personality Disorder

At least he knew 4 languages

by Multiple Personality Disorder on

,,, Kurdish, Farsi, English, and French.  He might have know Azari also, but I couldn't verify it.

Thank you all for reading and your comments.

I found a picture of his funeral here:




by yolanda on

Thank you, MPD, for your blog! Wow! The guy was trilingual and a prolific translator. To translate 80 books was a lot of work! I read a little bit of "A Tale of 2 cities" in high school, the book was thick!

His life story is shocking! Apparently executions are commonplace & routine in Iran! Very sad! I am glad the guy dodged a bullet and lived a long life and accomplished a lot!

Thank you for sharing!


Rest in peace

by divaneh on

Thanks MPD jaan for this obituary and reminding everyone of the services that Mr Younesi did for his society.


Thank you MPD For the blog about Mr. Yunesi

by Mehrban on

I didn't know him but I know what great debt of gratitude we owe to our erudite translators to have made great works of literature accessible to us.    May he rest in peace.



by Roozbeh_Gilani on

"Personal business must yield to collective interest."

Esfand Aashena

Didn't know him but sounds like he had an interesting life.

by Esfand Aashena on

May he rest in peace. 

Everything is sacred

Maryam Hojjat

MPD, Thank you for

by Maryam Hojjat on

Short bio of this Great literary Iranian.