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The hidden violence of retranslation: Mahfouz’s Awlād Ḥāratinā in English

Khalifa, Abdel-Wahab ORCID: 2020. The hidden violence of retranslation: Mahfouz’s Awlād Ḥāratinā in English. Translator: Studies in Intercultural Communication 26 (2) , pp. 145-162. 10.1080/13556509.2020.1751472

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This article examines the (re)translation into English of Naguib Mahfouz’s 1959 novel Awlād Ḥāratinā as a socially-situated activity. Drawing on Bourdieu’s theory of practice, it analyses retranslation as an intrusive, symbolically-violent act in relation to a text which itself triggered unfavourable reactions when it was published in Arabic and when it subsequently appeared in English (re)translation. Awlād Ḥāratinā stands out as one of the few allegorical fiction works written in Arabic, which offers a unique case for the study of retranslation. Through an analysis of the paratextual materials of the two available translations of Mahfouz’s novel (originally published in 1981 and 1996, respectively), this article identifies and critically examines the mechanisms of symbolic violence through which the translators, Philip Stewart and Peter Theroux, attempted to distinguish themselves and their works. The extent and intensity of the disputes between Stewart and Theroux also speak to this case study’s significance. The findings suggest that a Bourdieusian perspective can expand and enrich the understanding and theorising of retranslation. They also illustrate that retranslation is not an act of mere linguistic or stylistic improvement on previous efforts but is often an act of symbolic violence and a site for struggle through which differences between translatorial agents are created and maintained, primarily via the generation and leveraging of capital.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Modern Languages
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
ISSN: 1355-6509
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 26 February 2020
Date of Acceptance: 25 February 2020
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 06:04

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