14: Less Cute and Safe
We discuss Marcia’s recent interviews with professors teaching Arabic literature in translation; an essay by Lebanese novelist Rabih Alameddine’s in which he picks apart “world literature” and foreign writers – such as himself – who act as “tour guides”; and a book that is an ambitious overview of modern art in the Arab world.
- An overview of the “Teaching with Arabic Literature in Translation” series appeared on the website al-Fanar. The whole series – which will consist nineteen interviewsas of May 21 – can be found on ArabLit. The series will go on hiatus over the summer, but will hopefully be spun into a stand-alone resource.
- Rabih Alameddine’s“Comforting Myths: Notes from a Purveyor”and takes us from Superman to Joseph Conrad to “the cute other,” with stops at Tayeb Salih’s Season of Migration to the North, translated by Denys Johnson-Davies, Hisham Matar’s The Return, and one of Alameddine’s own novels, which a 2008 New York Times reviewcalled “a bridge to the Arab soul.” As Alameddine has said elsewhere: “What the fuck is the Arab soul?”
- Modern Art in the Arab World: Primary Documents, co-edited by Anneka Lenssen, Sarah Rogers, and Nada Shabout, is forthcoming June 5 from Duke University Press. The selection of texts, many appearing for the first time in English translation, includes “manifestos, essays, transcripts of roundtable discussions, diary entries, letters, and the guest-book comments[.]” Some can be read online.