My 2005 translation of Mouloud Feraoun’s Le Fils du pauvre, Menrad, instituteur kabyle, sought to correct an historical error by presenting this Algerian Francophone classic to an American audience for the first time since its publication in 1950. A central figure of the first generation of Algerian intellectuals to compellingly represent in fictional form the internal lives of native people during the era of French colonialism, Feraoun (1917-1962) embodied a moderate, humanist, culturally situated viewpoint that was ultimately sacrificed by all sides to the extremism and violence of decolonization. Choosing to work from the original edition, rather than the edition edited for French audiences on the eve of the Algerian revolution, my translation restores an entire section of the novel and offers a new glimpse of Feraoun’s larger literary project.
The work presented here is dual in form: As a translation commentary, it seeks to evoke, trace and illuminate the wager of Feraoun's first autobiographical novel from its inception to it troubled reception and its continuing impact. As a translation journey, it offers an evocative meditation on the audacity of any writer to pass from silence to authorship and sketches out in a comparative framework the connections and disconnections between Algeria and America. I argue that we have not translated Feraoun because Feraoun's work mapped a territory whose political boundaries imploded, yet whose human parameters were and remain universal. Today, we have much to gain from listening to the astute, ironic and deeply humane interrogations of this Berber-Muslim voice.
|Commitee:||Alcalay, Ammiel, Serrano, Lucienne|
|School:||City University of New York|
|School Location:||United States -- New York|
|Source:||DAI-A 72/05, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Modern language, Comparative literature, African literature, North African Studies|
|Keywords:||Algeria, Auto-ethnography, Berber, Feraoun, Mouloud, Francophone, Le Fils du pauvre, Menrad, instituteur kabyle, North Africa, Translation commentary|
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