“It’s no fault of yours if your life songs are bigger than a continent”: Self-Translation, Creativity, and the Specter of Self-Betrayal


  • Emily Duffy Universidade Catolica Portuguesa


The present paper aims to engage with contemporary conversations on self-translation by writers and translators who grapple with questions of identity, resistance, and their place in the global system of literature as intercultural subjects for whom linguistic hybridity is a fact of their literary production. Through analysis of essays compiled and edited by Wiam El-Tamamin in the special section on self-translation of ArabLit Quarterly, it will consider the experiential aspects of self-translation as well as what is at stake when authors self-translate work that reflects their own linguistic hybridity in its form and content. The self-translated text is hybrid, and it always points to an original-in-flux. Whether that source text is published, written in a private journal, or exists orally or in the writer’s imagination or body– it is a necessary and corresponding part of a bricolage whole.

KEYWORDS: Self-Translation, Linguistic Hybridity, Creativity, Intimacy, Literary Translation, Arabic Literature in Translation.


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