Agency and translational literature: Ahdaf Soueif's The Map of Love

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In the space between translators and translated, there are texts that straddle two languages, at once foregrounding, performing, and problematizing the act of translation. They participate in the construction of cultural identies from that in-between space and stage many of the concerns of contemporary translation theory. I call such texts translational literature. While all bilingual and multilingual discourse dramatizes the interaction of languages, translational texts lay special emphasis on translation as an essential component of cross-cultural contact. As such, translational literature treats translation in several registers - formal, thematic, linguistic, and discursive - raising questions not only about technical aspects of linguistic transfer but also about cultural (un)translatability, discourses of difference, and ideologies of domination. This essay elaborates the notion of translational literature and offers the exemplary case of Ahdaf Soueifs The Map of Love (1999).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)753-768+920
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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