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Intimate EnemiesTranslation in Francophone Contexts$
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Kathryn Batchelor and Claire Bisdorff

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781846318672

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781846318672.001.0001

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Postcolonial Intertextuality and Translation Explored through the Work of Alain Mabanckou

Postcolonial Intertextuality and Translation Explored through the Work of Alain Mabanckou

(p.196) Postcolonial Intertextuality and Translation Explored through the Work of Alain Mabanckou
Intimate Enemies

Kathryn Batchelor

Liverpool University Press

The work of the prize-winning francophone author Alain Mabanckou is characterised by an intense intertextuality that poses significant challenges for translation. This article explores the intertextual networks associated with the novel Verre cassé, highlighting in particular their eclecticism and the priority given to literature by African authors. Setting this novel in the context of Mabanckou's broader oeuvre, including his internet blog, it argues that his intertextuality can be viewed as an expression of a Glissantian tout-monde or as a modelling of the recently envisioned littérature-monde. The contrasts between the intertextual networks of the original French novel and those of the published English translation, Broken Glass, are striking: intertextual references to canonical texts that might be seen as belonging to the ‘centre’ tend to be preserved, while references to African literature or more generally to literature on the ‘periphery’ tend to disappear. Translation thus returns the text to the hierarchies associated with the Francophonie, and reveals the fragility of the littérature-monde vision when the realities of literary translation are taken into account.

Keywords:   Alain Mabanckou, Translation, Intertextuality, Verre cassé, Broken Glass, Littérature-monde, Tout-monde, Francophonie, Edouard Glissant

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