Symposium: Arabic Literature in Translation

October 22, 2021 - 11:00 am to 12:30 pm
Dima Ayoub (Middlebury), Alexandra Shraytekh (Tufts), Michelle Hartman (McGill)

This mini symposium proposes to investigate modern Arabic literature in translation. The translation of Arabic texts has a complicated history, incorporating publishers' reticence to publish translations, politics, gender, as well as difficulties of situating Arabic literature within the all-encompassing world literature.

What gets translated and why? How are we the audience to read what is translated? Do these translations give us insight to Arab society and culture? What is the reception of these works? Why is the novel privileged over other literatures, e.g. poetry? Is there a cultural reason or a publishers preference and influence? Indeed, is there a preference for secular novels over religious texts? What is the power dynamic and relationship between these different strands? Our panelists will explore these questions as well as discuss the relationship between publisher and translator; text and translator; the relationship between author and translator.

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