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  • Translating the Postcolonial in Multilingual Contexts eds. by Judith Misrahi-Barak and Srilata Ravi
  • Jacqueline Dutton
Translating the Postcolonial in Multilingual Contexts. Edited by Judith Misrahi-Barak and Srilata Ravi. (PoCoPages.) Montpellier: Presses universitaires de la Méditerranée, 2017. 282 pp., ill.

Edited volumes of this quality, originality, and interest are rare. There is an intriguing aspect to every contribution, from the editors' Introduction relating 'Disruptive Transfers on the Borders', to the final Annexes of images from Wajdi Mouawad's theatrical creation Seuls (2008) in Mai Hussein's study. The fourteen chapters, written in English and French, are divided into four geographical orientations emphasizing multilingual contexts arising in the aftermath of English and French colonialism: islands, Africa, the Mediterranean, the Americas. Each chapter offers access to theoretical concerns underpinning translation in postcolonial multilingual contexts. Paul Bandia, Salman Rushdie, Lawrence Venuti, Susan Bassnett, Pierre Nora, Jean-Jacques Lecercle, Mikhail Bakhtin, and many other familiar figures emerge to support contributors' arguments, as well as more original discussions of bordering and 'translation as continuity in discontinuity' in literary New Orleans (Anne Malena, p. 232), informed by Naoki Sakai, Anthony Pym, and Edwin Gentzler. In this way, the volume allows the reader to reconnect with or discover a wealth of germane fields of study, including world literature, (self-)translation, postcolonialism, reception, and translingualism—although this last term is conspicuous by its absence. Upon these sound foundations, a dynamic intersection of research and innovation evolves through the theory/practice nexus of Jean Anderson's translations of Polynesian Pacific authors Patricia Grace and Chantal Spitz; Jan Steyn's analysis of South African cultural referents chosen by Maryse Condé and her translator husband Richard Philcox in Histoire de la femme cannibale (2005) / Story of the Cannibal Woman (2008); Delphine Munos's explanation that forgetting the French Algerian context in pre-2013 English translations of Camus's L'Étranger mirrors Nora's forgetting of France's colonial past in Les Lieux de mémoire (Paris: Gallimard, 1984-92); and the highversus low-context cultures elucidated by Lynn Blin in the example of Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club (1989). Three big questions can be identified, which are addressed in several chapters. How can one translate a text redolent with many linguistic and cultural influences—such as Réunionnais creole (Valérie Magdelaine-Andrianjafitrimo) or Haitian poetics (Yolaine Parisot)—into one 'universal' language? How does self-translation enact new prose inspired by stylistic preferences—for example, Ananda [End Page 472] Devi's concern for story in (Indian) English and telling in French (Julia Waters) or Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o's journey towards liberating both Gikuyu and English forms of Wizard of the Crow (2007) (Charlotte Baker)? How does intermediality or transmediality influence translatability, whether via Ousmane Sembène's camera's free indirect discourse in La Noire de … of 1966 (Tobias Warner), paratexts by Western journalist-contributors to Rwandan genocide narratives (Catherine Gilbert), passports in Malika Mokeddem's N'zid (2001) and Frantz Fanon's archive (Megan C. Macdonald), and multi-technical, multimedia, multisensory experiences in Mouawad's Seuls (Hussein)? Sincere thanks are due to the editors for bringing together this exciting suite of papers, and for framing them with cognizant and conscientious recognition of the scholarly breadth that advances and enhances translation studies today.

Jacqueline Dutton
University of Melbourne


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pp. 472-473
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