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Title: A comparative study of Arthur John Arberry's and Desmond O'Grady's translations of the seven Mu‘allaqāt
Author: El-Masry, Heba Fawzy
ISNI:       0000 0004 7227 748X
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2017
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This study investigates the politicisation of Arthur John Arberry’s and Desmond O’Grady’s translations of the seven Mu‘allqāt, drawing on Pierre Bourdieu’s sociological theory. It presents a sociology of translation that is based on five of the conceptual tools that Bourdieu employs in understanding social reality in studying the influence of the social norms on the two translators’ decisions. The study foregrounds the fact that Arberry’s and O’Grady’s translations were similarly produced in highly politicised societies due to the British and later the American involvement in the Middle East, and it argues that British and American propaganda respectively formed the doxa about Arabs at the times the translations were produced and influenced the representation of Arabs in each translation. The study aims to advance the understanding of the influence of the socio-political context on poetry translation which has rarely been studied. A review of extant English translations of the Mu’allaqāt defines the boundaries of the field; specifies its key players, and the factors that shaped their habitus; highlights the major types of capital over which these players struggle; and thus helps to situate Arberry’s and O’Grady’s translations in the field. The theoretical framework of this study draws on Bourdieu’s sociology in order to establish the link between politics and Anglophone literary fields during the time the translations were produced. It thus tests Bourdieu’s sociology in the study of poetry translation. The theoretical framework employs Skopostheorie to explain the different approaches that the two translators adopt to the translation; it also draws on the domestication/foreignisation model. The study analyses and compares the two translators’ choices of methodologies which ultimately result in characterising their representations of the Arab reality described in the Mu‘allaqāt by essentialism, absence, and otherness that have been the three characteristics of Orientalist representation of the non-West since the eighteenth century. The analysis reveals how the decisions of both translators result in problems such as distorting or altering Arab reality, or in obstructing the message of the original qaṣīdas. The study concludes that the socio-political context had its impact on Arberry’s and O’Grady’s translation choices in spite of the different purposes of their translations. It also concludes that the socio-political context seems to have influenced O’Grady’s choices relating to style. Furthermore, it sheds light on the problems that result from the influence of the socio-political circumstances on the translators’ decisions, and offers suggestions for avoiding such problems.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PR English literature