LA TRADUCTION DU VIDE : LES POÉTIQUES DE LA DISTANCE CULTURELLE DANS L’ACCÈS AU CORPS DE MALEK ALLOULA
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In this work, I present my original translation from French into English of Malek Alloula's book-length poem L’Accès au corps, published in 2005. In the first chapter of my introduction, I summarize my background research into the life and work of Malek Alloula, as well as Algerian literature in the 20th century. In the first section, “Malek Alloula: Critic of Colonialism,” I explore Alloula’s critical work, including his book Le Harem Colonial (1981), which analyzes the representation of Algerian women in colonial postcards. I attempt to challenge his analysis by applying a feminist critique to his work. In the second section, “Malek Alloula: Francophone Writer,” I discuss the complications of Alloula’s identity as a francophone writer, as well as his role in the Algerian literary movements of the 20th century. As a native Algerian who chose to write his poetry in French, Alloula challenged French hegemony both in the content of his poetry and in his unique manipulations of the French language. In the third section, “Poetry: A Form of Resistance,” I synthesize my reading of Alloula’s other works of poetry in order to explore patterns in his poetic voice, as well as to analyze recurring motifs in his writing, such as memory, exile and cultural heritage. In the second chapter, I analyze my own process of translation in order to offer a transparent appraisal of my own shortcomings as a translator, as well as to explain some of the choices I made in my final translation. In the first section, “The Translator’s Perspective: First Encounters,” I explain the failure of my first attempt to translate this book two years ago. I conclude that my lack of contextual research into the author and his homeland led to an inaccurate translation of the text. In the second section, “Approaching the Text: Methodologies,” I explain my choice to create what Lawrence Venuti would deem a “foreignizing” translation in English, which, rather than striving to create a fluent, accessible text, carries across the difficulties of the original French. In this section, I apply the theories of several prominent thinkers in the field of translation studies in order to explore notions of violence, appropriation and essentialization in the translation of francophone texts. I also include an analysis of one page of Accessing the Body in order to explain some of the choices I made in my final translation -- choices colored, in large part, by my research into the cultural context of the poem. In the concluding section, “The Afterlife of the Poem,” I discuss the poet’s recent death, and its implications on my translation process.