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Susan Pickford
Université Paris-Sorbonne
France
Vol. 2 No. 1 (2016), Articles, pages 77-94
Accepted: May 10, 2016
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Abstract

The present article draws on a corpus of into-English translations of works by Maghrebi authors working in Arabic and French to study the channels by which they reach an English-language readership and the relative places of the two languages in the target literary and publishing polysystems. It examines the hurdles faced by Arabic-language writers in achieving international visibility, particularly the weakly structured nature of the source publishing sphere and the ethnographic frame that dominates their reception, and challenges chronologies of Arabic-to-English translation which foreground Naguib Mahfouz’s 1988 Nobel Prize win as a turning point. It demonstrates that the driving forces behind into-English translations of Maghrebi writers have rather been the enfranchisement of Maghrebi French writing in the French literary and publishing polysystems, particularly Tahar Ben Jelloun’s 1987 Prix Goncourt win, the rise of Francophone Studies within the Anglo-American academy, and the ethnographic frame that saw a cluster of «terrorism memoirs» translated in reaction to events in Algeria in the 1990s.

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