Journal of Romance Studies

‘Translating’ alterity: Intercultural communication in the novels of Ahmadou Kourouma

Journal of Romance Studies (2013), 13, (2), 19–40.

Abstract

The critical reception of the novels of Ahmadou Kourouma, while recognizing the political nature of his work, has tended to focus disproportionately on the originality of his style and his idiosyncratric treatment of the French language. In fact, Kourouma was deeply preoccupied with the linguistic tools at his disposal as he sought to communicate the social, cultural and political realities of an African experience and an African perspective on the world. His novels can be seen as attempts to translate these African experiences for a Western audience. This article demonstrates that the act of translating/interpreting and the ultimate impossibility of translation are recurring tropes in his narratives but they also serve as overarching metaphors for the task facing the postcolonial writer in a more general sense.

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Asad, Talal (2010) ‘The concept of cultural translation in British social anthropology’, in Critical Readings in Translation Studies, ed. Mona Baker (London and New York: Routledge), 7–27. The concept of cultural translation in British social anthropology Critical Readings in Translation Studies 7 27 Google Scholar

Bassnett, Susan and Harish Trivedi (eds) (1999) Post-colonial Translation (London and New York: Routledge). Post-colonial Translation Google Scholar

Bhabha, Homi (1994) The Location of Culture (London and New York: Routledge). The Location of Culture Google Scholar

Borgomano, Madeleine (1998) Ahmadou Kourouma Le ‘guerrier’ griot (Paris: L’Harmattan). Ahmadou Kourouma Le ‘guerrier’ griot Google Scholar

Chevrier, Jacques (1981) ‘Une écriture nouvelle’, Notre Librairie 60, 70–5. Une écriture nouvelle Notre Librairie 60 70 5 Google Scholar

Corcoran, Patrick (2002) ‘Entretien avec Ahmadou Kourouma’, ASCALF Bulletin, 24, 19–32. Entretien avec Ahmadou Kourouma ASCALF Bulletin 24 19 32 Google Scholar

Corcoran, Patrick (2008) ‘Bâtardise de la Politique: Pour une critique génétique des Soleils des Indépendances d’Ahamdou Kourouma’, Francophone Postcolonial Studies 6.1, 40–61. Bâtardise de la Politique: Pour une critique génétique des Soleils des Indépendances d’Ahamdou Kourouma Francophone Postcolonial Studies 6.1 40 61 Google Scholar

Djian, Jean-Michel (2010) Ahmadou Kourouma (Paris: Seuil). Ahmadou Kourouma Google Scholar

Ducournau, Claire (2011) ‘Mélancolie postcoloniale’, Actes de la Recherche en Sciences Sociales, 185, 82–95. Mélancolie postcoloniale Actes de la Recherche en Sciences Sociales 185 82 95 Google Scholar

Gassama, Makhily (1995) La Langue d’Ahmadou Kourouma ou le français sous le soleil d’Afrique (Paris: Karthala/ACCT). La Langue d’Ahmadou Kourouma ou le français sous le soleil d’Afrique Google Scholar

Gyasi, Kwaku (2006) The Francophone African Text: Translation and the Postcolonial Experience (New York: Peter Lang). The Francophone African Text: Translation and the Postcolonial Experience Google Scholar

Hampaté Bâ, Ahmadou (1992) L’Etrange destin de Wangrin (Paris: 10/18 UGE). L’Etrange destin de Wangrin Google Scholar

Hulst, Lieven d’ (2011) ‘Etudes postcoloniales et questions de traduction’, in Poétiques Comparatistes, ed. Yves Clavaron (Nîmes: Lucie Editions). Etudes postcoloniales et questions de traduction Poétiques Comparatistes Google Scholar

Jakobson, Roman (2002) ‘On linguistic aspects of translation’, in The Translation Studies Reader, ed. Lawrence Venuti (New York and London: Routledge), 126–31. On linguistic aspects of translation The Translation Studies Reader 126 31 Google Scholar

Kourouma, Ahmadou (1970) [1968] Les Soleils des Indépendances (Paris: Seuil). Les Soleils des Indépendances Google Scholar

Kourouma, Ahmadou (1990) Monnè, outrages et défis (Paris: Seuil). Monnè, outrages et défis Google Scholar

Kourouma, Ahmadou (1998) En attendant le vote des bêtes sauvages (Paris: Seuil). En attendant le vote des bêtes sauvages Google Scholar

Kourouma, Ahmadou (1999) ‘Les Dits et Non-dits de Kourouma Ahmadou’, Wellesley College, Massachusetts. Institut Mémoire de l’Edition Contemporaine, Fonds Kourouma, transcript located in box KOU 17 (Pré-inventaire Ekoungoun, January 2011). Les Dits et Non-dits de Kourouma Ahmadou Institut Mémoire de l’Edition Contemporaine Google Scholar

Kourouma, Ahmadou (2000) Allah n’est pas obligé (Paris: Seuil). Allah n’est pas obligé Google Scholar

Lefort, René and Maurio Rosi (1999) ‘Ahmadou Kourouma ou la dénonciation de l’intérieur’, Le Courrier de l’UNESCO 52.3, 46–9. Ahmadou Kourouma ou la dénonciation de l’intérieur Le Courrier de l’UNESCO 52.3 46 9 Google Scholar

Miller, Christopher (1990) Theories of Africans (Chicago: University of Chicago Press). Theories of Africans Google Scholar

Niranjana, Tejaswini (1992) Siting Translation (Berkeley, Los Angeles, Oxford: University of California Press). Siting Translation Google Scholar

Ouedraogo, Jean (2004) Maryse Condé et Ahmadou Kourouma: Griots de l’indicible (New York : Peter Lang). Maryse Condé et Ahmadou Kourouma: Griots de l’indicible Google Scholar

Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty (2005) ‘Translating into English’, in Nation, Language and the Ethics of Translation, eds Sandra Bermann and Michael Wood (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press), 93–110. Translating into English Nation, Language and the Ethics of Translation 93 110 Google Scholar

Sturge, Kate (1997) ‘Translation strategies in ethnography’, The Translator 3.1, 21–38. Translation strategies in ethnography The Translator 3.1 21 38 Google Scholar

Toury, Gideon (1985) ‘A rationale for descriptive translation studies’, in The Manipulation of Literature: Studies in Literary Translation, ed. Theo Hermans (London: Croom Helm), 16–41. A rationale for descriptive translation studies The Manipulation of Literature: Studies in Literary Translation 16 41 Google Scholar

Tymoczko, Maria (1999) ‘Post-colonial writing and literary translation’, in Post-colonial Translation, eds Susan Bassnett and Harish Trivedi (London and New York: Routledge), 19–41. Post-colonial writing and literary translation Post-colonial Translation 19 41 Google Scholar

Tymoczko, Maria (2010) ‘Ideology and the position of the translator’, in Critical Readings in Translation Studies, ed. M. Baker (London and New York: Routledge), 213–28. Ideology and the position of the translator Critical Readings in Translation Studies 213 28 Google Scholar

Tymoczko, Maria and Edwin Gentzler (eds) (2002) Translation and Power (Amherst and Boston: University of Massachusetts). Translation and Power Google Scholar

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Corcoran, Patrick

Corcoran, Patrick