There is a letter circulating that puports to be from Charlie Chaplin to his daughter.

Here is one example. It starts:

Now it is night. One Christmas night. All unarmed wars in my little castle slept. Not awake or your brother or your sister. Even your mother now sleeps. Not only woke up zaspalite birds until he came to this polusvetla room.

Was this originally written by Charlie Chaplin?

  • 5
    Did you read the comments on your linked page?
    – Benjol
    Commented Jan 17, 2014 at 12:19
  • 3
    While it’s true that Charlie Chaplin rarely spoke in his films I think he had a rather better grasp of the English language than displayed in this letter. Commented Jan 17, 2014 at 13:18
  • 3
    @Konrad, that's a good point. His speech at the end of The Great Dictator in particular is a good example. The body of the letter definitely seems to have been written by a non-native English speaker.
    – KChaloux
    Commented Jan 17, 2014 at 15:53

1 Answer 1


'Pseudo-translation as a Subset of the Literary System: a Case Study' by the author Maryam Mohammadi Dehcheshmeh concluded in 2013 that 'the Letter of Charlie Chaplin to his daughter Geraldine' was one of the most famous Iranian pieces of 'pseudo-translations'. The original writer Farajollah Saba has claimed the letter's authorship in 2012.

Pseudo-translations as classified by Tahir Gurcaglar (2010) are a type of purported translated text even as there is no original text for them. The text is not the original but rather an English translation which was found by analysis focus including the content and the terminology of the text but not the syntax.

Farajollah Saba, in an interview with Serat News on May 23, 2012 speaks that

The story happened at the Rošanfekr Magazine. More than 30 years ago, we decided to have a column called Fantasy imitated from westerners. We wanted to test our ability. Every week, we published a fantasy letter in the column. The title “Fantasy” at the top of the column clarified everything. After a year, I noticed that the content of the column had gotten repetitive.

One day, in the afternoon, I asked my colleagues, “Why has the content got repetitive?” They said: “If you think you can write better, go ahead!” Well, I was the chief editor and I didn’t want to give up, so I accepted the challenge. I went to my office and wondered what I should write. Suddenly the picture of Charlie Chaplin and his daughter, published in a magazine on my desk, attracted my attention. In the interim, the publisher was persistent in finalizing the pages as soon as possible. Finally, he didn’t print Fantasy at the top of the column and this led to my troubles all these years.”

After publishing this letter, the trouble began: “It was recorded on tapes, declaimed on different occasions, recited on the radio and television frequently, and sold in front of the Tehran University. Nobody paid attention to me insisting that it was not Charlie Chaplin’s. The worst thing is that it was translated into Turkish, German, and English. Even in some assemblies I attended, this letter was recited, and when I told them it had been born out of my imagination, they laughed at me and said “What are you talking about? We’ve seen its English version!”

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