Less Cute and Safe

عن الحلقة

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. Show notes
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.