Translating Exile: Contemporary Francophone Women Writers (MLF2074)

15 credits

This module introduces you to issues of translation and exile in contemporary Francophone women’s writing, looking at three texts in both French and English. You will focus on the relationships between individual and society, author and translator, source text and translated text, and study themes of war, memory, illness, gender, ‘freedom’, and exile.

In Désorientale (Disoriental), Négar Djavadi fictionalises her childhood in Iran and her family’s exile to France, focusing on issues of selfhood, sexuality, and (dis)integration. Darina Al Joundi’s first play, Le Jour où Nina Simone a cessé de chanter (The Day Nina Simone Stopped Singing), opens up questions of female ‘freedom’ in war-torn Lebanon, and her second play, Ma Marseillaise (My Marseillaise), confronts the problems of exile from the self as her protagonist seeks citizenship in France. All three texts are highly personal, yet offer insights into specific socio-historical contexts in Iran, Lebanon and France.

You will also approach the texts from the perspective of translation, looking at why translation is important for women writers, and what is at stake in translating women, especially those who do not ‘fit into’ mainstream discourses, as well as the differences between translating for publication and translating for performance.

This module may be studied by students of French who have passed MLF1001, or by ex-beginners (who have passed MLF1052). All students will study the texts in both French original and English translation.