Dreams Deferred, Translated: Radwa Ashour and Langston Hughes

Michelle HARTMAN

Abstract


This article uses the project of translating into English Radwa Ashour’s memoir, The Journey: An Egyptian Woman Student’s Memoirs in America [Al-Rihla Ayyam Talibah Misriyah fi Amrika], to explore a number of crucial questions in Arabic-English translation. It works through the ways in which the literary elements of the text—its poetics and poetic expression—are translated between the two languages, in relation to and in conversation with its social and political elements. The specific example used is Ashour’s inclusion of her own translation of Langston Hughes’s now iconic poem «Harlem (2)» (better known as «A Dream Deferred») in the original text. The article explores how Ashour presents this poem to her Arabic readership, as a representative of Black American poetry. This article’s primary intervention is to analyze and formulate suggestions for translating a text that is explicitly political and highly poetic.


Keywords


Black-Arab solidarity; Black American poetry; Harlem Renaissance; Langston Hughes; liberation struggles; literary translation; politics of translation; Radwa Ashour; Third World Politics; translation of poetry

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References


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