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Marina Warner: Abdelfattah Kilito, 17 April 2014

Je parle toutes les langues, mais en arabe 
by Abdelfattah Kilito.
Actes Sud, 144 pp., €19, March 2013, 978 2 330 01634 0
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... a bass line, familiar ground. Echoing Kafka, the Moroccan writer and scholar of Arabic literature Abdelfattah Kilito declares ‘I speak all languages but in Arabic,’ in the title of his recent collection of essays. Kilito is a writer who reads (not all do) – and widely, in several languages. He’s an amphibian ...

Into the Future

David Trotter: The Novel, 22 March 2007

The Novel: Vol. I: History, Geography and Culture 
edited by Franco Moretti.
Princeton, 916 pp., £65, June 2006, 0 691 04947 5
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The Novel: Vol. II: Forms and Themes 
edited by Franco Moretti.
Princeton, 950 pp., £65, June 2006, 0 691 04948 3
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... to Homi Bhabha’s elegant enquiry into ‘creative fetishism’ in Midnight’s Children; from Abdelfattah Kilito on Hamadhānī through Perry Anderson on Montesquieu and A.S. Byatt on Balzac to Simon Gikandi on Chinua Achebe. Moretti and his contributors have succeeded in making the study of the novel – if not the entire ‘literary ...

Anglo-Egyptian Attitudes

Marina Warner, 5 January 2017

... visit from a friend, the proposed new dress – lay about us as wreckage.The Moroccan writer​ Abdelfattah Kilito points out in his witty and thoughtful book Thou Shalt Not Speak My Language that, while it is pretty much accepted that being able to communicate and be understood adds to the authority of the colonist, the way unintelligibility plays in ...

The Politics of Translation

Marina Warner: Translate this!, 11 October 2018

This Little Art 
by Kate Briggs.
Fitzcarraldo, 365 pp., £12.99, September 2017, 978 1 910695 45 6
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Translation as Transhumance 
by Mireille Gansel, translated by Ros Schwartz.
Les Fugitives, 150 pp., £10, November 2017, 978 0 9930093 3 4
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Sympathy for the Traitor: A Translation Manifesto 
by Mark Polizzotti.
MIT, 168 pp., £17.99, May 2018, 978 0 262 03799 0
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The 100 Best Novels in Translation 
by Boyd Tonkin.
Galileo, 304 pp., £14.99, June 2018, 978 1 903385 67 8
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The Work of Literary Translation 
by Clive Scott.
Cambridge, 285 pp., £75, June 2018, 978 1 108 42682 4
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... an act of dialogue rather than an act of imperialistic plunder?’ The bilingual Moroccan scholar Abdelfattah Kilito considers this in Thou Shalt Not Speak My Language: he likes knowing that while he knows French, the French don’t know Arabic, and can’t understand him when he writes or speaks in his mother tongue. For colonised subjects (not only by ...

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