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Session Details

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613. An African Literary Classic in Twelve World Translations

Saturday, 5 January, 5:15–6:30 p.m., 209, Hynes

A special session

Presiding: David Chioni Moore, Macalester Coll.

Speakers: Jeroen Dewulf, Univ. of California, Berkeley; Waïl S. Hassan, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana; Volker Max Langbehn, San Francisco State Univ.; Sarah Valentine, Univ. of California, Riverside; Monika Zagar, Univ. of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Session Description:

Our roundtable examines the classic 1956 French Cameroonian novel Une vie de boy (or Houseboy) in its twelve translations, 1958–98: Arabic, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, English, German, Portuguese, Russian, Slovenian, Swahili, Swedish, and Vietnamese. We will examine charged referents (e.g., nègre, le boy, sjambok, péril jaune), untranslated words (shorts, jeep, khaki), contexts, politics, and more.


  • Genre, Theory, Method – Translation

  • Comparative Literature – Twentieth and Twenty-First Century

  • African Literatures

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