Saturday, February 04, 2017

New to the Wiki: Muslim Reworkings of Romance/Chick Lit and German Translations


Newns, Lucinda, 2017. 
"Renegotiating romantic genres: Textual resistance and Muslim chick lit." Journal of Commonwealth Literature. Online first. 1-17. [Abstract]
Newns examines Leila Aboulela's fictional The Translator and Shelina Zahra Janmohamed autobiographical Love in a Headscarf:
Through their manipulation of secular romantic forms, they present readers with more nuanced articulations of Muslim womanhood that fuse feminist and religious concerns. Aboulela’s novel The Translator (1999) and Janmohamed’s memoir Love in a Headscarf (2009) appropriate the domestic novel and chick lit genres, respectively, and recast them within an Islamic signification system.
Newns doesn't mention popular romance except in passing, but Aboulela's novel is compared in some detail to Jane Eyre, while Janmohamed's book is compared to chick lit.]

Sinner, Carsten, 2012. 
"Fictional orality in romance novels: Between linguistic reality and editorial requirements." The Translation of Fictive Dialogue. Ed. Jenny Brumme and Anna Espunya. Amsterdam: Rodopi. 119–136.
In constructing the characters' social context, interpersonal distance is overtly manifested in some languages. Carsten Sinner [...] illustrates the conscious efforts made by German translators of English-language romance novels to recreate the highly conventionalized use of the terms of address Sie (distant) vs du (close), and even to ensure verisimilitude in the switch from one to the other, a protocol regulated by various parameters (age, superiority, personality). (22)

Carsten Sinner [...] attests to the "sanitization" strategy (term coined in Kenny 1998) followed by German publishers of romance novels through their translation style-sheets. Any feature of speech that may have a negative impact on the reader's opinion of the 'good' character has to be attenuated or even deleted, no matter the consequences for the verisimilitude of the situation. The difficulty does not lie in finding the model of language that is homologous to the source text colloquial variety but rather in achieving plausibility without shocking the reader. (23-24)

Other things generally omitted in the translation because of the publisher's style prescriptions are religious allusions and anything seen as nationalistic, heroic in a military sense, etc, which sometimes appears in the American originals. (133)