Conférence par Saida Agsous, Post-doctorante EHESS-CESSP, Littératures, civilisations & traductologie.
1) “Translation and Domination: the case of Palestinian Translators of Hebrew Literature”
The first topic is about translation and the title is “Translation and Domination: the case of Palestinian Translators of Hebrew Literature”. It is part of my general research tilted “Intertwined cultures in translation: Israeli-Jewish literature in the hands of Arab and Palestinian translators” and also part of my interest in the Palestinian cultural field in Israel from the standpoint of its minority status. I will address the history of Arabic-Hebrew literary translation made by Palestinians in a transnational perspective that includes Israel, the West Bank and Lebanon. I will also highlight the 1950s and 1960s, during which a joint translation work was carried out with the Mizrahim. the theoretical part is based on the work of Danièle Casanova’s « La langue mondiale : traduction et domination » (2015). The Hebrew-Arabic translation carried out by Palestinians reflects the notion of linguistic domination as recommended by Pascale Casanova « translation is the only truly linguistic way to access perception and existence in the dominated regions of this world ” and for the Palestinians it is a matter of asserting an existence in the dominant Hebrew space. If the bilingual experiences of Rashed Hussein and Mahmoud Darwich highlight the intercultural transfer between languages, spaces and identities it doesn’t, however, conceal Casanova’s notion that bilingualism/plurilingualism « conceals the fundamental fact that communication between languages (…) or translation reproduces (or reinforces) linguistic inequalities much more than it corrects them » .
2) Nakba and the Metaphorical Exile in the Palestinian Literature in Israel
The second topic is “Nakba and the Metaphorical Exile in the Palestinian Literature in Israel”. The talk is a re-composition of some texts and thoughts from my forthcoming book in French Ecrire en hébreu mais en arabe, L’identité palestinienne à l’épreuve dans l’écriture romanesque palestinienne en hébreu . The first part of the title is borrowed from the Moroccan intellectual Abdelfattah Kilito and his essay on bilinguism, Arabic literature and other issues Je parle toutes les langues, mais en arabe ». In the footstep of Kilito’s remark about the French-speaking writers of the Maghreb who invite us to read their texts as palimpsests « behind French letters, Arabic letters « , the book suggest a reading of Palestinian novels in Hebrew as an expression of Palestinian identity and its historical landscape within Hebrew literature which is occurs as palimpsest.
The book addresses the Palestinian novel published in Hebrew along with the history of the Palestinian cultural “beginnings” of the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s in Israel (literature, press and translation… ). The use of beginnings refers to Edward Said’s concept that differentiates origin from beginning. For Said, a beginning is different from an origin, because a beginning can be chosen and an origin can only be acknowledged .
The use of beginning translates the attempt to understand Palestinian literature in Israel as a choice taken by these actors in order to survive isolation, expulsion, destruction and cultural annihilation, which begin in 1948. By closely linking this concept to resistance, it helped to understand (or not) the words of those who were exiled inside their homes, whose memories were fixed to their walls and maybe to pick up on what Shammas once titled « Kitsch 22 ».
I will make an important reference here to « La République mondiale des Lettres » (1999) of Danièle Casanova since the aim is to discuss the history of these Palestinian writers in Israel as literary revolts and revolutionaries who may have succeeded with the theme of the Nakba and symbolic exile in creating new literary forms, in this case by incorporating history and memory into literature, thus creating confusion in the very genre of the literary text.