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Rewriting Mauritius: Ananda Devi's postcolonial self-translation

Waters, J. (2017) Rewriting Mauritius: Ananda Devi's postcolonial self-translation. In: Misrahi-Barak, J. and Ravi, S. (eds.) Translating the Postcolonial in Multilingual Contexts'. PoCo Pages, 2017. Presses Universitaires de la Méditerranée, pp. 53-70. ISBN 9782367812410

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The Mauritian writer, Ananda Devi, once described the experience of translating her own French-language novel, Pagli, into English as ‘liberating, even exhilarating’, as compared with the more constrained, faithful practice of translating another writer’s work. Indeed, Devi goes so far as to assert that the English-language version of Pagli ‘is more of a rewriting than a translation’, so explicitly signalling the creative liberties that she takes with source text and culture. This article seeks to overcome the critical neglect of Devi’s fascinating self-translation, by exploring the many striking divergences—both stylistic excisions and narrative additions—between source and target texts, occasioned, at least in part, by the novel’s new, Anglophone Indian readership. It investigates, in particular, how Devi’s extensive additions of new material, particularly relating to questions of slavery and anti-black racism, seek to rewrite dominant national narratives which foreground Indo-Mauritians’ enduring diasporic links with India. Exploiting the creative freedom offered by self-translation, Devi’s English-language, Indian-published Pagli represents the author’s attempt to confront, and thereby begin to overcome, the deep and enduring divisions caused by Mauritius’s dual ‘crimes fondateurs’ of slavery and indenture. As our analysis of Ananda Devi’s rewriting of both her own text and, with it, of Mauritius’s past demonstrates, the author’s ‘liberating and exhilarating’ self-translation destabilises and refutes the traditional binary opposition between ‘original’ writing and derivative translation, revealing the many, creative and political ways in which meanings shift with language and audience.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > Languages and Cultures > French
ID Code:67427
Publisher:Presses Universitaires de la Méditerranée


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