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Arabic Literature in English Translation

In the Literary Saloon post about David Tresilian’s A Brief Guide to Modern Arabic Literature, Michael Orthofer quotes this paragraph about the dismal (though not terribly shocking) number of Arabic books translated into English since World War II:

Recently modern Arabic literature seems to have made several long strides all at once. It is interesting to note that in the 20 years from 1947 to 1967 a mere 20 titles from modern Arabic literature appeared in English translation. In the next 20 years the situation improved slightly with 84 titles being published in translation between 1967 and 1988. I do not have figures for the yearly number being published these days, but the position has greatly improved.

In terms of 2008, 21 works of adult literature and poetry were translated from Arabic into English, so the position has most definitely improved. . . . (BTW, I’ll be posting an updated translation database in the very near future.)



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