Othello in the Egyptian vernacular: negotiating the 'doxic' in drama translation and identity formation
Hanna, S 2009, 'Othello in the Egyptian vernacular: negotiating the 'doxic' in drama translation and identity formation' , The Translator, 15 (1) , pp. 157-178.Request a copy)
Throughout the cultural history of modern Egypt, language has been a site for constructing and contesting different versions of national identity. While Classical Arabic (fusha) has been widely recognized by many as the legitimate expression of an Arab-Islamic identity that Egypt partakes of, there have been attempts by Egyptian intellectuals to forge and promote a unique Egyptian identity distinct from the Arab-Islamic geo-political and socio-cultural sphere. Egyptian vernacular Arabic (‘ammiyya) has been mainly deployed as the distinctive mark of this identity. While recognizing that the two categories of fusha and ‘ammiyya and the arbitrary divide between them are epistemological constructs that have been sustained and promoted by a number of institutional and discursive practices, including a linguistic discourse couched in a modernist understanding of reality, this article seeks to pinpoint the social/cultural economy of these two constructs in the field of drama translation in Egypt. It then examines a translation of Othello produced by Moustapha Safouan in 1998, in which he negotiates Egyptian identity through a strategic use of ‘ammiyya. The discussion of language and cultural practices in Egypt and Safouan’s translation draws on Pierre Bourdieu’s concept of doxa.
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