Subverted representation in La Nuit sacrée and its Arabic translation

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Abstract:

This article is a reading of Tahar Ben Jelloun's La Nuit sacrée and its Arabic translation. Its main argument is that, despite its success in France, La Nuit sacrée remains essentially a subverted representation of Moroccan, and by extension Maghrebi, Arab and Islamic, realities. Contrary to what Ben Jelloun's apologists try to make of it, this text cannot be said to represent resistance of any kind to oppression both internal and external. Far from it, the text renders its writer a useful tool at the service of those who still maintain the degradation and subversion of all their Others. Likewise, its Arabic translation employs calculated discursive choices that make it alien in Arabic. After all, it is not a translation in the conventional sense of the term since its French source text is itself an instance of translation.

Keywords: CULTURAL IDENTITY; DISCURSIVE STRATEGIES; LA NUIT SACREE; MAGHREBI LITERATURE IN FRENCH; REPRESENTATION; SUBVERSION; TRANSLATION

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2001

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  • The International Journal of Francophone Studies offers a critical preview for a new development in the understanding of 'France outside France', with a thorough insight into the network of disciplinary issues affiliated with this study. The journal complements the thriving area of scholarly interest in the French-speaking regions of the world, bringing a location of linguistic, cultural, historical and social dynamics within a single academic arena.
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