It’s Bloomsday: Reading Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’ in Arabic

Reading Joyce in Arabic on Bloomsday…


Among non-European languages, Omar Qaqish writes in a 2014 paper, Arabic has been one into which the writings of James Joyce have been reproduced prolifically:

ulysses3There are a number of published translations of Joyce’s short stories and novels, as well as criticism of Joyce’s work, but these books don’t represent the breadth of interest in Joyce’s work. As Amir Zaky’s recent survey of translations of Dubliners into Arabic noted, “By a fleeting search on the web, one can find some of the 15 stories in the collection translated by a number of amateurs and professionals.”

Indeed, Zaky said, “Arab translators have made great efforts to bring Joyce’s work into the Arabic.”

Moreover, those translations have been widely influential. According to Rasheed El-Enany’s Naguib Mahfouz: The Pursuit of Meaning, Egypt’s Nobel literature laureate said of his characters’ internal monologes: “All that happens is that I sometimes encounter a Joycean moment in my hero’s life…

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About Taline Voskeritchian

Writing teacher at Boston University; translator (from Arabic and Armenian); prose writer; occasional editor; incurable wanderer.
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