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13. An African Literary Classic in Ten World Translations

Thursday, 5 January, 12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., Willow B, Sheraton

A special session

Presiding: David Chioni Moore, Macalester Coll.

Speakers: Ana Paula Ferreira, Univ. of Minnesota, Twin Cities; Ursula Lindqvist, Harvard Univ.; Ben Vu Tran, Vanderbilt Univ.; Kennedy Waliaula, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison

Session Description:

This roundtable examines the classic 1956 francophone Cameroonian novel Une vie de boy (or Houseboy) in its ten translations, 1958–98: Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, English, German, Portuguese, Slovenian, Swahili, Swedish, and Vietnamese. Charged concepts and referents (e.g., nègre, le boy, sjambok, péril jaune), rarely translated words (shorts, jeep, khaki), target-language contexts and politics, and more will be examined in major and less-taught languages.


  • Genre, Theory, Method – Translation

  • Comparative Literature – Twentieth and Twenty-First Century

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