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Journal of Multicultural Discourses ISSN: 1744-7143 (Print) 1747-6615 (Online) Journal homepage:

Journal of Multicultural Discourses

Journal of Multicultural Discourses ISSN: 1744-7143 (Print) 1747-6615 (Online) Journal homepage:

ISSN: 1744-7143 (Print) 1747-6615 (Online) Journal homepage:

Issues of representation and communication in recent translation studies: Paul Bowles’s project of translating Moroccan culture

Abdellah Elboubekri

To cite this article: Abdellah Elboubekri (2016): Issues of representation and communication in recent translation studies: Paul Bowles’s project of translating Moroccan culture, Journal of Multicultural Discourses, DOI: 10.1080/17447143.2016.1251932

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Issues of representation and communication in recent translation studies: Paul Bowles s project of translating Moroccan culture

Abdellah Elboubekri

Department of English, University Mohamed I, Oujda, Morocco





lot of work has been done on the major turns that have taken

place within Translation Studies. The moves from the prescriptive



the descriptive method of analyzing and conducting translation

allow for appropriating the whole process of translation to the service of individual and institutional interests. These changes have been triggered by the juggernaut of globalization and have touched upon the ethics of intercultural communication and representation. As such, responding to the present international scene, dominated with cultural paranoia and reluctance to get immersed into the historically inevitable stage of cultural co- existence, the present paper suggests the transcultural approach to translation as a working alternative to the separatist and nationalist discourses that are fraught with essentialist ideologies. Within the transcultural dynamics of translation, the collision between the ethnocentric authority and peripheral minority is replaced with collaborative intersection of belonging senses and political voices to circumvent the devastating effects of the


dichotomizing rhetoric. The American writer Paul Bowles project


translating Moroccan culture in the context of his collaboration

with the Moroccan preliterate storyteller Mohamed Mrabet can be, therefore, read through the transcultural prism, which is in this case subtly sustained by the contact zone of Tangier.

read through the transcultural prism, which is in this case subtly sustained by the contact zone
read through the transcultural prism, which is in this case subtly sustained by the contact zone


Received 7 April 2016 Accepted 19 October 2016


Translation studies; globalization; intercultural communication; representation; cultural co- existence


Only few decades ago, the theorization and practice of translation were conceived of in terms of purely linguistic mastery of the target and source languages. However, in response to the pressing cultural issues posed by the process of juggernaut globalization, Translation Studies since the early nineties have been marked by a cultural turn that fore- grounds translation as a form of intercultural communication. Scholars are today paying more attention to the contextual factors attending to the element of culture in their aca- demic researches as related to both the theoretical conceptions and actual practices of translation. The translator has been required then to assume the position of mediator who is aware of the embedding of meaning into a specific social context and values system. These new translational impulses have raised hotly debated subjects with

CONTACT Abdellah Elboubekri

hotly debated subjects with CONTACT Abdellah Elboubekri © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading

© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group


2 A. ELBOUBEKRI regard to the processes and ethics of representation and communication. Researchers have contributed


regard to the processes and ethics of representation and communication. Researchers have contributed insightful thoughts on how translators can communicate and represent reality in ways that do not ignore the crucial element of culture. Indeed, scholars and prac- titioners in the field of translation (Gideon Toury, Andre Lefevere, Lawrence Venuti and Christiane Nord to mention only a few) have started to forsake their concern with the text as an independent entity in favor of the context of production and circulation of the text. Indeed, the history of Translation Studies is marked with a radical shift from the classical concentration on the original texts to the conventions of receptor texts. This prescriptive method targets laying down manners in which linguistic correspondence between the translating and translated texts can achieved. The turn of the twentieth century witnessed colossal socio-cultural and political changes at the level of international relations. Sub- sequently, priority was given to the cultural needs of the receiving text and hence the messages and purpose of the translation process. This descriptive approach paved the way for rethinking translation practices and integrating the socio-cultural contexts and the relationships of power and ideological asymmetries between both parts of translation process. Lawrence Venuti ( 1995 ) presented the foreignization and domestication as two strategies that accompanied the move form source text (ST)-oriented to target text (TT)- oriented translation. However, building on the functional theories and the emerging Cul- tural Studies, the postcolonial scholarship theorized translation in terms of transcultural relationships whereby the discursive interaction between the hegemonic and resistant voices are intercepted with moments for hybridized enunciations that blur all sorts of polarities be they temporal, special or even intellectual. Bearing in mind this integral part played by culture in translation work, this paper attempts to read this element in the collaborative work of Paul Bowles and Mohamed Mrabet and show how their works provide a chance not only for others to voice their resistant stances and defy the western hegemonic discourses. The project of collaboration constitutes a space for activating the dynamics of transcultural communication which aim to bridge the cultural gap across the Atlantic divide. In brief, it shows how this collabora- tive work reflects the unavoidability of cultural co-existence in a contact zone that serves as a miniature of today s globalized world. It is a literary initiative to relinquish the olden antagonism and to undergo constructive steps for communication and cultural dialogue sustained by the interstitial space of Tangier. The first part of this paper attends briefly to the major changes that registered the move toward to the transcultural turn in translation. In the second part, the focus will be on reading this transcultural dimension in the Amer- ican translation of Moroccan culture taking Bowles /Mrabet s collaborative work as a case of study.

A short intellectual account of Translation Studies trajectory

From prescriptive to descriptive translation

As a human behavior that is as old as humanity itself, translation has been approached in various ways. Its theories and practice have kept on ebbing and flowing but no satisfying conceptual framework has been uncontroversially embraced by all scholars of translation. However, its scholarship has generally departed from the prescriptive model to the


JOURNAL OF MULTICULTURAL DISCOURSES 3 advantage of the descriptive one. The issue was no longer about


advantage of the descriptive one. The issue was no longer about prescribing method- ologies to attain a kind of textual equivalence or fidelity or what John Catford ( 1965 ) termed formal correspondence , which squarely caters for the syntactical and lexical struc- tures of original and receptor texts. The concern shifted to questions about the purpose of translating taking into account the textual contexts involved in the process of translation. Within the prescriptive model, structural linguistics perceives translation as a form of meaning transfer from one linguistic code to another. The main focus was to explicate how language creates and carries meaning in order to make the operation of meaning transfer possible. The ultimate objective was to achieve a sort of equivalence of the thought or meaning inherent in the linguistic expressions. Therefore, linguistics was pri- marily centered on studying the linguistic signs signifiers that are involved in the pro- duction of the referents signifieds, with a minor consideration of its socio-cultural context. It is true that some later branches of linguistics such as semantics, pragmatics or even sociolinguistics have tried to raise awareness of the social and cultural dimension underpinning the the signifieds . For example, attention was paid to the connotations of colors such as the different connotations of the white and black clothes during funerals in different cultures. Thus, beside the structural knowledge of the target/source language, the translator has to comprehend what the producer of the ST intends to impart. However, the linguistic approaches to the translational work remains somehow impri- soned by the structural interpretation of language. According to Lawrence Venuti ( 1998 , 25), driven by its scientific orientation, the linguistics-oriented approaches remain restricted by their understanding of language as a set of systematic rules autonomous from cultural and social variation , which extends to viewing translation as a systematic operation autonomous from the cultural and social formations in which they are executed. The dependence of Translation Studies on the notion of textual adequacy between the signifierand the signified as theorized in linguistics was to be rethought with the advance of the post-structuralism and its disruptive effect on Western philosophy that is grounded on the idea of completeness and stable truth. Jacques Derrida s ( 1978 ) decon- structive philosophy questions the established assumption about the existence of the con- ceptual identity between the signifier and the signified . As such, every translated text is seen as a new production that does not exactly reflect the original which is varied in nature and cannot be refracted by only one version. The transformation of ST has been seen as an indispensable process in any translational work. In discussing the the task of the translator , Walter Benjamin (2000 , 17) stresses the inevitability of textual alteration during the act of translation. He argues that no translation would be possible if in its ultimate essence it strives for likeness of the original . Accord- ingly, when the translator approaches the original text he/she seeks to convert what is comprehended in his/her native linguistic code. George Steiner ( 1975 , 124) prefers to see this as interpretation that is based on the reconstruction of meaning rather than on refraction of it. The descriptive turn in translation has engendered contentious discussion about whether the poststructuralist transformations that accompanied translation should be manifest, and hence increases the foreignization of the text, or invisible enough to be appropriated and domesticated as part of the TT and culture. Indeed this discussion dates back to ancient Cicero and Horace debates, since the first century BC, about what


4 A. ELBOUBEKRI is described as ‘ word-for-word ’ literal transfer of the original text, or


is described as word-for-word literal transfer of the original text, or sense-for-sense free transfer of the general content of the ST (Susan Bassnett-McGuire 1980 , 2). The debate continued through the nineteenth-century nationalist writings of Friedrich Schleierma- cher. The latter summarized the two strategies of foreignization and domestication stating either the translator leaves the writer in peace, as much as possible, and moves the reader towards him; or he leaves the reader in peace, as much as possible, and moves the writer towards him (Venuti 2000 , 49). As the first case is about imparting the same image understood from the foreign text, the second method of domestication entails turning the writer of the foreign text into one of the target audience. However, according to André Lefévere ( 1977 , 67) Schleiermacher called for foreignization method to face the French political and cultural hegemony during the Napoleonic wars. This German nationalist politics of translation aims at preserving the foreign features that characterize the French text. This was supposed to enrich the German language and litera- ture by cunningly stealing from the colonial language. In fact, the controversies that attended to Translation Studies reflected the differing ideological and political backgrounds of the involved theorists. Venuti endorses the argu- ment that the choice of strategies of translation is politically and ideologically informed. Domestication is thought to solidify the hegemony of English into which a huge percen- tage of world translation is made. The Anglo-American tradition of translation is marked with fluency to smoothen the process of reading in the target culture. The translator tends to disappear as the ST is rendered identical to the cultural norms and aesthetics of the TT. This appropriative stance presupposes texts selection and adaptation to reduce the degree of the foreignness of the original and strengthen its conformity to the dominant imperial language. In this regard, Venuti ( 1998 , 11) affirms that the econ- omic and political ascendency of the US has reduced foreign languages and cultures to minorities in relation to its language and culture . This being the case, resistance can be enacted within the realm of foreignization that is fundamentally anti-ethnocentrism. Antoine Berman corroborates Venuti s resistant position. He is against domestication which is compatible with domination. He is for the politics of translation which retain the otherness of the foreign and preserve the vagaries of its distinctive features. His ethical stand in literary translation requires welcoming the foreign into the mother tongue, to recognize and receive the other as other, and ever to reinvigorate the mother tongue through the newness that the foreign represents (Qtd in Kathryn Bachlelor 2009 , 233). As a matter of fact, in Translation and the Trials of the Foreign, Berman (2000 , 284 297) calls for translational practice that is based on word-for-word translation. It is a kind of foreignization which seeks to maintain the originality of the translated texts and bolster the translating language. Along with the dissatisfaction with the use of modern linguistics and the ethical debate of foreignization and domestication, translation studies, in a later descriptive move, applied the functionalist method in an attempt to cover the metalanguage context under- lying translation. During the late 1970s there was an upsurge of interest in the social context that surrounds the production and reception of the linguistic structures and mean- ings. This eventually led to functional linguistics by Michael Halliday who stresses on the significance of taking the type and register of the text into consideration and on relating language utterances to their social contexts (1989 ). Christiane Nord and Katharina Reiss drew on the functionalist and sociological frames and left a great impact on translation


JOURNAL OF MULTICULTURAL DISCOURSES 5 theories. For instance, Reiss ( 1981 / 2000 ) developed a


theories. For instance, Reiss ( 1981 /2000 ) developed a translation communicative strategy that seeks to realize equivalence through distinguishing the typologies of the text as each type (informative, expressive, operative ) has a distinct way of translation. For the first type, for example, the strategy revolves around providing full and even extra explanation of every fact. As for Nord ( 1997 ), she focuses on the notion of Skopos (aim in Greek) and sees Translation as a Purposeful Activity . In the German tradition of translation, the Skopos theory studies the economic, ideo- logical and institutional circumstances that surround the processes and functions of trans- lation. As a way of illustration, Hans J. Vermeer (2000 ) affirms that any translational act presupposes certain instruction dictated by a particular institution such as the publishers in exchange for a commission to the benefit of the translators, who are bound in several occasions to deviate from the aim of the ST. Vermeer explains that a statement of skopos implies that it is not necessarily identical with the skopos attributed to the ST: there are cases where such identity is not possible (qtd in Venuti 2000 , 228). As such, knowing the purpose of translation helps the translator decide on choices to make vis-à-vis the process of prioritizing the STs or TTs, such as which ideas to highlight or foreshadow, which elements to subject to ellipsis. In his translation of the Bible, Eugene Nida (1964 ) redefines the textual adequacy assumed by the prescriptive theories. He considers the goal and purpose behind trans- lation as the dynamic determinator of the final translated product. His dynamic adequacy allows for all kinds of modification that could result in equivalent effects of the ST. His strat- egy of translation aims at transferring the message of God to other cultures. In other words, it is an advocation for a sense-for-sense translation. In striving to attain a kind of equivalence, both Nida and major linguists interested in translation were excessively preoccupied with the intrinsic characters of the language forms and uses that are capable of realizing the notion of equivalence. Yet, the social and cultural backgrounds that decide, most of the time, the clarity and understandability of the message encoded in the ST were relatively ignored. Consideration for the social and cultural elements in translation theories is greatly attributed to the Chinese prominent the- orist Ye Zinan, who basically implements Nida s notion of dynamic equivalence. Hence, research started to approach translation from a cultural perspective. These new translational impulses have raised hotly debated subjects with regard to the processes and ethics of representation and communication. Researchers have contributed insightful thoughts about how translators could communicate and represent reality in ways that do not ignore the crucial element of culture. Scholars and practitioners in the field of translation have started to forsake their concern with the text as an independent entity into reflecting on the context of production and circulation of the text. In this regard, Gideon Toury (1995 , 29), one influential figure in the new wave of translation, sees that translations are facts of target cultures; on occasion facts of a special status, sometimes even constituting identifiable (sub)systems of their own, but of the target culture in any event . So whatever its embedding in the different branches of linguistics might be, trans- lation activities should rather be seen as enjoying a cultural significance. As it is got from Toury s founding concept of norms awareness of regular behaviors with regard to the general values shared by a community the translator was to assume a social role that is conscious of the regular rules, norms and idiosyncrasies in both the source and target languages. Hence, the descriptive studies either with the contexts when adequacy


6 A. ELBOUBEKRI (focus on norm of SL) or acceptability (focus on norm of TL) is


(focus on norm of SL) or acceptability (focus on norm of TL) is favored gained momen- tum. Moreover, Toury (1995 , 61) coupled the notion of norm with equivalence, which sub- sequently effects a concrete change vis-à-vis the translation approaches, from an ahistorical, largely prescriptive concept to a historical one .

Toward the postcolonial turns in translation

Translation was not squarely perceived as being a channel to communicate a literal message or a tool to serve a certain purposeful function (skopos). This approach remains insufficient for a better understanding of the complicated intentions of the pro- ducers of ST, especially when it comes to literary work, which is replete with slipperiness and indeterminacies as far as the construction and deconstruction of meaning is con- cerned. In its later development, the descriptive approach in literary translation accentu- ates on the socio-cultural function that a translated document can perform. Drawing on this culturally oriented standpoint, some scholars such as Itamar Even-Zohar and Gideon Toury came up with what is called the polysystem theory, whose diachronic way of analysis would be later developed and appropriated by the postcolonial theory of translation. Such a diachronic view considers the position of translated texts within the spatial and temporal contexts, and sees the texts as body, rather than as individual, functioning within the historical, social and cultural systems of the particular receptive readers. This being the case, the translated text should be approached as a discourse that is, as any other discourse, institutionalized and enmeshed in the social and cultural fabric, and is part and parcel of cultural construction. The new trend of theorizing involves laying focal attention on the translated text s culture and the way its target readers perform their interpretive practice. The receptive culture, within the polysystem framework, determines the artistic as well as the pedago- gical value of the translated text (Qiyi Liao 2006 , 61). Hence, studying the translation decisions should take into account the social convention in the receiving culture and socio-cultural agenda the translator has to comply with. According to Toury s The Nature and Role of Norms in Translation ( 1978 ), the norms and terms of reference(Venuti 2000 , 168) that govern the target culture determine the social role of the translator and his translated text. Moreover, both Toury (1995 ) and Even Zohar ( 1990 ) refer to the reinvigorating force of translation. The foreign text introduces new idea and forms to the target culture. In the American literary context, which is the focus in this paper, the fictional publi- cations between the 1950s and the 1980s witnessed a preponderance of translated fiction from foreign countries. Edwin Gentzler (1998 , 143) noted that a Mayan, Guatema- lan or North African/Berber texts, translated into English through the method of foreign- ization, achieved noticeable circulation among readership. These foreignized translations were claimed to introduce innovation in the TC system and offer remedy for the exhaus- tion of traditional forms of storytelling, a replenishment in the shape of rigid realism and a greater generic self-consciousness(Venuti 1998 , 169). This view was also strongly asserted by George Steiner ( 1975 , 26), who considered all attempts for translation as at the same time reproductive and innovatory . In addition, foreignization not only serves the enriching of national language in Schleiermacher s sense, it is also used as a means to subvert the supremacy of imperial languages. Minor marginalized foreign texts that are translated


JOURNAL OF MULTICULTURAL DISCOURSES 7 into English underlines the distinctiveness of the other. What Venuti termed


into English underlines the distinctiveness of the other. What Venuti termed minoritizing translation does destabilize the authenticity and hegemony of the American literary canon. He (1995 , 41) argues that the foreign text is privileged in foreignizing translation only insofar as it enables a disruption of target-language cultural values . As a matter of fact, such heightened concentration on the element of the text s differ- ence and specificity was encouraged by the literary descriptive paradigm and approach to translation which emerged as a reaction to the dominant prescriptive linguistic theories. Given its emerging function as unsettling the authority of the canonized, the minor trans- lated text turns into an arena for the operation of ideological dichotomies and the accom- panying of power relationships. Therefore, it has become an instrumental document for the study of unequal relationships that usually mark the relationship between the cultures related to the ST and TT. The postcolonial theory of translation came as a challenge to the western totalitarian and absolutist paradigms of knowledge production and reception. Translation was subject to the constraints of the static canons and universal standards that the Western humanist worldview was applying on all types of knowledge. The different cultural pro- ducts which do not conform to the western norms are then to be excluded and denied due consideration. The new reading framework challenges the cultural mediator in trans- lation who acts as the only authorial determiner of meaning and interpretation. The post- colonial rereading of translated texts is inscriptive of alterity along with the subversive potentiality of the local to the global. The postcolonial translation was in essence informed by the descriptive analysis of the cultural and social skopos of the translated text and its discursive impact on both the receptive audience and their culture. It, however, laid emphasis on the role of ideology and power and adopts the cultural studies methodologies of interpretation. Scholars use the term cultural turn to refer to this new direction in translation during the 1990s. Basnett and Lefevere ( 1990 , xii/xiv), prominent upholders of the cultural turn in translation, suggest that researchers on translation studies will learn a lot by going into the vagaries and vicissitudes of the exercise of power in a society, and what the exercise of power means in terms of the production of culture, of which the production of translation is part . The escalating concern with the cultural factor has been as well accentuated by the functionalist approach in translation. Christiane Nord (1991 , 11), one well-known sup- porter of the latter approach, sees the translator as not the sender of the ST message, but a text producer in the target culture . The knowledge of ST/TT s cultures appears therefore as indispensible traits for the practitioners of translation. In this respect, beside the linguistic aspects, the socio- cultural/political circumstances as well as the process of intercultural communication (with special focus on questions of to whom, when, where, how, who translate and for what purpose) must be considered. Given the increasing recognition of translation as cultural exchange, there has been an upsurge of interest in the cultural dimension of translational work. Scholars have started to pay more attention to the contextual factors attending to the element of culture in their academic research as related to both the theoretical conceptions and actual practices of translation. Indeed, translation theories have witnessed radical transformations starting from the nineties, in response to the pressing cultural matters posed by the process of glo- balization. Although it is widely believed that the mounting sway of globalization has been creating a culturally unified world, a deep look at the international cultural scene unravels


8 A. ELBOUBEKRI the fact that the growing speed of globalization intensifies, ironically, reactionary dis- courses


the fact that the growing speed of globalization intensifies, ironically, reactionary dis- courses calling for cultural diversities. Therefore, the need for probing into the cultural dimension of translation has become urgent. Andre Lefévere ( 1992 ), a fervent advocator of the descriptive approach and more biased toward literary translation, argues for the enmeshment of translation in the domi- nant social and ideological structure. Being similar to the various forms of literary pro- duction, all kinds of translated texts are to be approached in terms of discursive constructions in service of the ideological line of the target culture. Before Lefévere, Toury ( 1985 , 18/19) asserted that translation does always serve the ideologies of the recep- tor culture. He declares that translation is

conditioned by the goals it is designed to serve, and these goals are set in, and by, the pro- spective receptor system (s). Consequently, translators operate first and foremost in the inter- est of the culture into which they are translating, and not in the interest of the ST, let alone the source culture.

Those who hold power, be they professionals, controllers of the dominant literary dis- course, or patrons who represent power from outside literary system, delineate the ways the translation and its consumption would take. Lefévere (1992 , xi) puts forward:

All rewritings, whatever their intention, reflect a certain ideology and a poetics and as such manipulate literature to function in a given society in a given way. Rewriting is manipulation, undertaken in the service of power, and in its positive aspect can help in the evolution of a literature and a society. Rewriting can introduce new concepts, new genres, new devices and the history of translation is the history also of literary innovation, of the shaping power of one culture upon another. But rewriting can also repress innovation, distort and contain, and in an age of ever increasing manipulation of all kinds, the study of the manipulation pro- cesses of literature are exemplified by translation can help us towards a greater awareness of the world in which we live.

That said, both translators and readers are subjects of ideological manipulation. Being influenced by Habermans ’ ‘ School of Manipulation , Lefévere conceives of translation in a new web where ideology, discourse, construction, authority/power/patronage and politics are interwoven. As such, he sees translation as an act of rewriting of literature, those in the middle, the men and women who do not write literature, but rewrite it (1992 , 1). Such an act of rewriting is replete with processes of appropriation and foreignization according to the decisive dictates of the patronage which Lefévere ( 1992 , 92) defined as any kind of force that can be influential in encouraging and propagating, but also in discouraging, censoring and destroying works of literature. Deconstructing and unsettling this textual manifestation of power characterize the application of the postcolonial theory and prac- tices to translation which reside mainly on those structures of feeling and identification that resisted domestication and effacement. Hence, postcolonial translation is to be marked with the ethics of difference and alterity. Bassnett and Lefevere ( 1998 ) adopted the polysystem approach and focused on the extra-linguistic elements that shaped the process of translation and the kind of relation- ship that marks the source and target culture of the translated text. Additionally, they raise attention to the ideological loads that underlie the literary process of translation. The new turn was geared toward deconstructing the colonial cultural construction that blurred the difference, agency and heterogeneity of the dominated. Subversion and


JOURNAL OF MULTICULTURAL DISCOURSES 9 resistance characterize the project of postcolonial re-reading of colonial texts and


resistance characterize the project of postcolonial re-reading of colonial texts and retran- slating of colonial translations in the name of reasserting the humanity and diversity of the postcolonial. Introducing the notion of rewriting in translation allows different cultural and social subjects to intervene into the hierarchical forces in the name of reshaping their position- ality. As a point of illustration, gendered language can be reflected in translation and women find in translation a space to highlight their underprivileged worldviews and chal- lenge the hegemonic representation of their subjectivity. Sherry Simon ( 2002 , 138), for instance, believes that the reconstructive and constitutive power of translation gives way to its power to trouble and dislocatethe discourses that deprived them from taking on gendered positions. Thus, ethical consideration in translation studies should touch upon the possible feminist tenor of writing. However, the postcolonial turn in translation is not all about resistance. Translation fosters a kind of cultural hybridity that is suggestive of mutual and collaborative creativity of the source and target languages. This notion of cultural hybridization is deeply dis- cussed by Homi Bhabha in The Location of Culture ( 1994 ) where he maintains that cultural hybridization is an ongoing process of cultural translation that is conducive to a new way of living that is free from hegemonic polarization and dichotomies. In short, Translation Studies since the early 1990s have been marked by a cultural turn that foregrounds trans- lation as a form of intercultural communication. The translator has been required then to assume the position of mediator who is aware of the embedding of meaning into a specific social context and values system. Apparently, such a cultural trend in translational study has gone hand in hand with a salient emphasis on the inseparability of language and its corresponding culture. Language has been seen as a carrier of culture; therefore, language learning and cultural learning become interwoven. Therefore, the strategic effa- cement of the translating language has not been consensually adopted. Intercultural com- munication requires as well the dominant imported language (English) to preserve its specificity when translated from rather than pressing it into local molds. It is true that intercultural translation is characterized by the asymmetry in power relation in the context of cultural dominance and resistance. Yet, one can approach trans- lated text as a middle ground for transculturation and hybridized existence between diverse locations that are asymmetrically related. Gentzler and Tymoczko ( 2002 , xvi) do not see translation solely in terms of top-down operation of power. It, indeed, can be mobilized for counter discourses and subversion, or for any other number of mediating positions in between . It is this third space that makes interactional exchanges and dialo- gues between cultures possible even within a context of asymmetrical relation. Appar- ently, postcolonial translations do somehow converge with the postcolonial literary texts written in the dominant languages. For Maria Tymoczko ( 1999 , 23) both kinds of postcolonial writings tend to be selective when dealing with the original cultural aspects to be highlighted to the host readership. Nonetheless, the transposing of foreign imageries and worldviews does not only enrich the dominant languages, but it opens up a space for interaction between different traditions and tongues. In the words of Ngũ gĩ wa Thiong o ( 1986 , 85), the result is a real dialogue between world literature, languages and cultures of different nationalities . Equally, in Moving the Center: The Struggle for Cultural Freedoms (1993 , 39/40) Ngũ gĩ reasserts that the different languages should be encouraged to talk to one another through the medium of interpretation


10 A. ELBOUBEKRI and translation … through translations, the different languages of the world can speak


and translation through translations, the different languages of the world can speak to one another. Arguably, Paul Bowles project of translating Moroccan culture and minor literature is open to a transcultural reading paradigm which conceives of translation as an arena for power repression and negotiation, as well as a dialogue between different cultures. Arianna Dagnino ( 2012 , 1) defines transcultural writers as imaginative writers who, by choice or by life circumstances, experience cultural dislocation, live transnational experi- ences, cultivate bilingual/pluri-lingual proficiency, physically immerse themselves in mul- tiple cultures/geographies/territories, expose themselves to diversity and nurture plural, flexible identities . In this sense, transcultural literature as the term is used in this article goes beyond the dichotomized understanding that Fernando Ortiz (1992 ) gave to the fusion between the dominating and dominated cultures. It is tainted with the postcolonial intellectual turns beyond dichotomies. The following section will illustrate this point through investigating the transcultural writer Bowles and his collaborative endeavors with Mohamed Mrabet, a Moroccan preliterate story teller. Before embarking on this task, a contextualization of this enterprise within the American /Moroccan cultural and lit- erary relation is helpful.

Transcultural communication in the collaborative work of Bowles and Mrabet

Moroccan American transcultural relation

American translation of Moroccan culture from the 1950s up to the 1980s can be exam- ined within the socio-cultural contexts of its production and consumption. This period was marked by a certain American literary interest in foreign marginal fiction, tales and local folks, which are minor even in their native culture, for the sake of replenishing the exhausted canonical literature. What Venuti (1998 , 12) called minoritizing translation does in one way or another withstand the process of adaptation that the translators opted for to render the foreign images accessible to the dominant international reader- ship. These translations coincided with American international political and economic domination with new rising cultural needs. During World War II, the US did not aim to have a direct imperial role in Morocco especially after the military landing operation torch in Casa Blanca in 1942. Instead, it had political concern in North Africa in the context of vying for regional alliances. Therefore, no matter how critical was the US of French colonialism in Morocco, independence was not fully supported for fear of risking the American interest in the region. This undecided state of affairs was reflected in Bowles literary writings and travelogues in Morocco, as well as in his translations of Mor- occan tales. While he disproved of the French colonial presence, which was likely to oblit- erate the authentic and primitive traditions in Morocco, he staunchly chastised the Arab nationalist movements that were threatening to efface the ethnic diversity in the country. Although the recent American Moroccan history has been marked by a certain asymme- trical relation of power, transculturation has been the evident vignette of this relationship. Morocco was introduced to the Americans through the prism of European Orientalism as a romantic land of the middle ages with old imperial cities, beautiful Moorish architecture, colorful and earthy people(Robert Hunter 2010, 5977). Bowles was recommended by the


JOURNAL OF MULTICULTURAL DISCOURSES 11 naturalized French writer Gertrude Stein to visit Morocco and he eventually


naturalized French writer Gertrude Stein to visit Morocco and he eventually stayed in Tangier for more than half a century (Brian Edwards, 2). Tangier, an international zone, became a favorable destination for a number of American bohemians, hippies and expatri- ate writers who did not see themselves as fitting in the American policy and literary canon. They were attracted by the heterogeneity of cultures, languages, tolerance of difference, the sense of orientalistic mystery and exoticism, as expressed in Edith Whartons travelogue In Morocco (1920) and other British and French orientalists. The accepting ethos and liminality of Tangier appealed to the mindsets of foreigners who longed to abandon their restricted mode of being and indulge in novel senses of seeing and belonging to the world. The inter- stitial location of Tangier encourages reciprocal cooperation between agents of cultural work regardless of their unbalanced bond of power. This liminal space incited Moroccan and American authors to create a linguistically and culturally hybridized literature brimming with transculturation. There is no one definite rationale and historical context behind Bowles project of trans- lating Moroccan culture. During the 1940s and the 1950s he produced stories about the Moroccan life from the American point of view as well as the American life as seen from a Moroccan perspective. Moreover, like his contemporary expatriates such William Burroughs, Bowles saw in the Moroccan minor tales a literary instrument to unsettle the grand nationalist categorization at home and experiment with eccentric linguistic struc- tures and images. Bouchra Benlemlih (2009 , 64) noted in her dissertation that Bowles translates realities that have been rejected, repressed and devalorized by the hegemonic centripetal forces . The resultant deterritorialized language was hoped to reterritorialize American English language and literature and hence innovate the national literature. The exile experience in Morocco sustained Bowles to redefine the American self by con- trasting it with the other and eventually questioned the civilizational superiority claimed by the West. His travelogue Their Heads are Green and Their Hands Are Blue ( 1963 ) is dotted with interrogative challenges to the certainties of American cultural supremacy and industrial materialism. Travels dislocate his belief in the integrity of the self and his definite sense of belonging. He told an interviewer: one belongs to the whole world, not to just one part of it(Abdelaziz Jadir 2006 , 165). This is a clear hint to the need to learn from other non-industrialized cultures. As for the period extending between the 1960s and 1970s, he shifted his attention to translation of oral tales using a tape recorder. Apparently, the reason for this shift is his wife Jane, who was sick in the hospital in Malaga and needed his care. However, according to Edwards, the reason is much deeper. Bowles was worried about the disappearance of folk culture on the eve of Moroccan independence. The nationalists did not care about the popular Berber cultures because they aspired to join the Arab League. According to Venuti s conception of minoritizing translation, Bowles concentrated his attention on translating the Berber culture that was a quite different minority within the mainstream Arab culture. His translation consists of selecting foreign cultural aspects that stand immi- nently in high contrast to the American materialist canon. His deliberate selective approach to the STs was politically oriented. He informed an interviewer I have left out a great deal, oh yes, an enormous amount, but I do that on purpose (Abdelhak Elghandor 1994 , 14). Furthermore, Richard Paterson ( 1992 , 181) considered Bowles s turns to colla- borative translation as natural development in a writer so artistically committed to the comprehension of another culture . Others such as Allen Hibbard ( 2004 , 96) attribute


12 A. ELBOUBEKRI this shift to the market demand for unusual stories from foreign countries. Translation


this shift to the market demand for unusual stories from foreign countries. Translation earned Bowles one passage way through which he gained greater access to the house of fiction. In the beginning, he had a financial fund to record the local music, which he saw as fundamental to the preservation of Berber primitive culture that was marginalized by the rising independent nationalist party that was against tribal feudalism and backward- ness. Through recording local folk music, the Americans will be aware of all corners of the globe, particularly the now unfamiliar corners (Bowles 1994 , 158). He thinks that the west can learn a lot from the African pure culture he was against materializing. He said: how greatly the west needs to study the religions, the music and the dances of the doomed African cultures (Edwards 2005a , 230). That said, he believes that the aware- ness of African culture can help westerners strip away some of their materialist and root- less tendencies. His first attempt of translation was with his companion Ahmed Yacoubi in 1952, then Larbi Layachi, but he started with Mrabet in 1964 and together they produced 12 trans- lated books. It should be rather called collaboration because the work was the outcome of the conversation between the two men. Mrabet often used Spanish when Bowles found it difficult to translate some Arabic words. He was convinced that the tales of these illiterate story tellers can function as a valuable repository of cultural memory. The collaborative work ended up in a Tangierian literature which both at the level of form and content eludes the fixed categories imposed on literature. The project radiates the intercultural circumstance of Tangier. That is, it reflects the linguistic and cultural mul- tiplicity and collapsed communities embodied by Tangier. William Burroughs called this project interzone : a work that does not belong to the boundaries of identity/nation (Greg Mullins 2002 , 4). It is a place of indeterminacy and ambiguity, a place that remains outside standard narratives of nationhood and identity (Simon Sherry 1999 , 58). However, Tangier can stand also for colonial space that involves the logic of power relations. It can be perhaps viewed as a contact Zone , to use Mary Louis Pratt s coinage, in which peoples geographically and historically separated come into contact with each other and establish ongoing relations, usually involving conditions of coercion, radical inequality, and intractable conflict (Pratt 1992 , 6). In short, Bowles cultural project, both in the form of fiction or literary translation, instantiates a transcultural discourse that consists of polycentric texts whereby American ethnocentric authority is contested by marginalized voices. The contact interzone of Tangier transforms the absolute authority of western discourse into texts of multi-voicedness.

Bowles/Mrabets transcultural collaboration

Contrary to what Paterson ( 1992 , 180) suggested, the collaboration under study does not only deal with the question of how to traverse, intellectually and emotionally, the distance between the familiar here and an alien there ”’ . Enmeshed within this hybrid dialogic purpose, the collaboration can be read also as a tapestry whose threads alternate Amer- ican ethnocentrism, which is sustained by the process of foreignization, with native sub- versive and anti-colonial voices. This process of transculturation cannot be perceived outside the cultural framework as was suggested by Dagnino (2012 , 3), who sees transcul- tural thought as an alternative cultural discourse . The dynamics of transculturation


JOURNAL OF MULTICULTURAL DISCOURSES 13 presupposes the existence of stable cultures that are waiting to be


presupposes the existence of stable cultures that are waiting to be negotiated and com- promised. That is, the transcultural collaboration is the result of the two mens efforts to renovate the static fixed status of their cultures and languages. In the case of Bowles, this is done through utilizing the strategy of foreignization that shakes the thematic and linguistic rigidity of the American canon. As for Mrabet, transculturation is displayed in the critique of the inflexible cultural system, political repression and social exclusion that most of his native characters are subjected to. The foreignizing strategy that Bowles adopted in his literary collaboration with Mrabet is marked with historical selection of tales registering native ways of living during the pre-colo- nial, colonial and postcolonial context. The illiteracy status of his storytellers (Mrabet in this case) guaranteed his access to a narrative repertoire that is not affected by the rationalist logic of civilizational literacy. Mrabets tales revolve around spontaneous cultural memory that is not contained with the constraint of creative writing. They are fraught with legendary heroes living in a mythical environment of witchcraft, trances, magic, ogres, folkloric fables and witty vengeance, whereby the wretched overcome their oppressors and achieve ideal justice. For instance, his popular hero Hadidan Aharam is recurrently presented as mischievous, mar- ginalized and itinerant figure who always manages to win over his mocking tormenters. Bowles describes him as the traditional rustic oaf, who, in spite of his simplicity, and some- times precisely because of it, manages to impose his will upon those who have criticized and ridiculed him(Mrabet 1976a). In all the tales that make the collection Harmless Poisons, Blameless Sins (1976b), Hadidan often emerges as the victorious savior of his community after he has defeated his powerful detractors. By way of illustration, in the tale The Rhoula, he triumphs over the ogresss seven daughters who threaten the safety of his village. In The Muezzinhe chops off the head of the pagan Muezzin who annoys him before the dawn prayer. In other stories especially The Fire, The Saint, The Dogand The Diamond, he turns into a trickster to retaliate the mistreatment of his oppressors. In The Saint,for example, he afflicts severe agonies on the Pasha and his soldiers who confiscated his farm that used to be a cheap source for the peasantsneeds of vegetable and fruits. Sometimes, his tricks emanate from a sheer tendency toward laziness such as in The Hens, where he blows in air in the chickens and fills them with water to make easy money out of selling them at the souk. The outcome of translating these tales is usually a surrealist development of events that strengthens the degree of foreignization, which deranges the receptive and inter- pretive practice among the American readers hips. While Mrabet envisages an alterna- tive reality to the dominant forces of tyranny, Bowles actuates alterity and difference on the body of English fiction. The narrative l anguages, character s, settings and plot of Mrabet s tales have transformative effects on the American fiction writing. He admitted to Patterson (182) that his own work has become stylistically simpler . The influence was typically felt in the use of language; he acknowledged that he had learnt from Mrabet s use of language how to tell everything really, with verbs and nouns. Simple writing (Claude Thomas 1999 ). His appreciation of simplicity stems from his recognition of the value of illiterate orality that is not distorted by the constric- tive methods of the modernist act of writing. Bowles strives to keep the Moroccan taste and ambiance of Mrabet s oral tales through preserving the structure of Moroccan dialect, the literal meaning of idioms and using untranslated Arabic/Berber words in to the body of the stories or as titles of the tales such as Si Mokhtar, ’ ‘ Rhoula,


14 A. ELBOUBEKRI ‘ Abdeslam and Amar, ’ ‘ Bahlou, ’ M ’ hachich , ‘


Abdeslam and Amar, ’ ‘ Bahlou, M hachich , El Fellah, ’ ‘ Baraka, ’ ‘ Ramdan, ’ ‘ Larbi and his father, ’ ‘ The Witch Bouiba Del Hallouf and Mimoun and the Fisherman . The dialogues are incorporated as part of the text rather than being conventionally punctuated inside inverted commas. He was more interested in capturing the cultural concepts and reali- ties as he received them; thus, the level of foreignization is intensified and the dislo- cation of the American readers reception is ensured. In this vein, Samia Mehrez ( 1992 , 122) argues that the hybridized linguis tic settings radiated through the trans- lated tales undermine the method of meaning-making and signification and invite for alternative reception that is grounded on mutual interdependence and intersigni- fication . Such heightened textual difference des tabilizes the hegemonic asymmetrical relations of power between the self and the other. Furthermore, it challenges the notion of linguistic faithfulness and textual equivalence that had characterized intellectual debates about translation in the past. In the hybrid space of Tangier, where different nationalities and tongues are brought together, the dichotomized relationship between the self and the other is negotiated through the dynamics of transcultural translation. Bowles /Mrabet collaborated work reg- isters the intersectional existence of the self and the other in spite of their inhabiting hege- monic (Bowles) and resistant (Mrabet) positionalities. The dominant theme of the collaboration revolves around the intertwining of the self and other in the contact zone of Tangier. Most of the tales refer to the colonial contact of Moroccan culture and foreign one. The pre-colonial past/ancestors and traditions are set against the imperial western modernity. Bowles seems to share Mrabets conviction that cultural authenticity is harmed by the foreign invasions and that life is insecure and one has no choice in it. This existentialist view is artistically expressed in The Lemon (1969 ); the protagonist Abdessalam told his mistress If your life is going to be wrong, itll go wrong and no matter what happens. You can t escape (81). The protagonist grew up torn between the centripetal force of the patriarchal tradition of Morocco and the centrifu- gal forces of the corrupting West. His father wants him to embrace western progress, but he rebels vehemently. For instance, when asked to kneel down by his French teacher he retorted:

I can t do that for you monsieur, Said Abdessalam. Youre Nazarene and Im a Muslim. How can I kneel in front of you? I dont do that even for my father. When I get home all I do is kiss his hand. (11)

After being abandoned by his parents, he found himself taken care of by a Spanish couple. The message that is conveyed here is the inevitability of cultural interpenetra- tion. Despite his refusal to join the foreign culture, he was obliged to survive a culturally mixed world. The same trope of cultural encounter is repeated in Love With a few Hairs ( 1967 ). It is a story of the protagonist Mohamed, who is stranded between his native Islamic culture as embodied by magic portion customs and the foreign ones as represented by his homosex- ual lover and boss David, with whom he lived happily after a failed attempt with local marital life. The homosexual relation of love testifies to the success of the interpenetration of the self and other. Like Mrabet himself, Mohamed can inhabit both Islamic and western spaces and values effortlessly, though he has strong disdain of both of them. Like his trans- lator Bowles, Mohamed stands in between the two cultures. Such interconnectedness


JOURNAL OF MULTICULTURAL DISCOURSES 15 obliterates the polarities of identification. The same thematic concern is


obliterates the polarities of identification. The same thematic concern is reflected in Mrabets autobiography Look and Move On (1976a ) in which he narrates his youth in Tangier and his meeting up with foreigners who took him to the US. He narrates his encounter with Bowles and the beginning of their collaboration. Convinced of the impossi- bility of separating fiction from facts and hence realizing textual identity between what is told and what is written, he stated

I began to go see (Bowles) several times a week and each time I spent two hours or so record- ing stories. Finally I had good collection of them. Some were tales I had heard in the cafes, some were inventions I made as I was recording, and some were about things that had actu- ally happened to me. (91)

Bowles con rmed the made-up nature of the tales: some of those tales are variation of well-known legends, while others are fabrications (qtd in Patterson). The combination of fairy-tale scenes and banal realities interrogates the notion of equivalence and penetr- ability of the storytellers. This issue of cultural incomprehensibility and untranslatability is evoked in the short story What Happened in Granada? , where Mrabet s protagonist told the British anthropologist you think you know something about the Rif ans? All you saw of them was their teeth when they smiled at you. They never let you nd out the important things (Mrabet 2004 , 4). Moreover, Mrabet the character and narrator uses plain way of narrating simple happenings in his life in the interzone of Tangier. The lack of centering the events on clear self-brimming with feelings raises the readers attention to the differ- ence from western texts where the self is likened to the hinge around which everything else revolves. Interconnectedness between the minds of Bowles and Mrabet does not suggest that the collaboration was free from the problematics of authorship. Bowles intervention in the narrated stories was made easy unlike in the case of Mohamed Chokri, who stands firm against the total control of the process of translating his novel For Bread Alone . Bowles ( 1979 , 8) himself concedes that After Chokri, it was a relief to return to the smooth-rolling Mrabet translation. However, The Boy Who Set the Fire ( 1989 ) exemplifies the discursive and narrative testimony against Bowles alleged attempt to shadow Mrabets existence as an author. The book consists of a collection of tales about Moroccan life colored with allegories, the grotesques, the mingling of the supernatural and real scenes, the mixture of the social and political issues. The unfamiliar uncanny sphere that the stories mediate entails adopting another worldview in order to fathom them. Mrabets different identity is clearly inscribed in the text both at the level of content and form. The stories The Hut (lethargy and kif- smoking), Bahloul (careless elusion of loans), The Saint by Accident (belief in sorcery and superstition), The Dutiful Son (hostile patriarchy), to mention only this few, plunge the reader into a world of unfathomed fairy tale no matter how the translator had struggled to grasp and realize some equivalence. The borders between the mythical world and rational reality are blurred by the recurrent reference to the use of a certain drug kif which has the effect of emancipating the minds of the characters from the taboos of the lived world and the materialist requisites of modernity. The Maktub (literally translated as what is written) sig- nifies that the destiny of the characters is controlled by Allah and they have no choice over what happen around them. Bowles ( 1962 , ix) affirms that in his fictitious narratives: the will


16 A. ELBOUBEKRI of Allah/or fate rule the characters ’ lives with an arbitrary and somewhat


of Allah/or fate rule the characters lives with an arbitrary and somewhat surprising sense of rightness.The trope of otherness is dramatically restaged in The Big Mirror ( 1980 ). This story is about a young Moroccan Ali and his new wife Rachida, who is terrified of the otherness she sees in the mirror. This otherness turns out to be the cause of her madness. She kills her baby and some of her male neighbors whom she took as alien threats. Ali moves away to his farm and gives in to the solace of dreaming rather than encountering in the mirror his wife who has eventually committed suicide. Rachida s madness and schizophrenic acts of murder emanate from failure to deal with alien others. By contrast, her husband is able to control his other. His dream self, stimulated by kif smoking, as opposed to Rachida s mirror self, keeps his white Christian wife on the other side of the border and contents himself with visiting her in his nightly dreams. Thus, the integrity of the self-demands placing the alien danger within the realm of dream. Clearly, the tales of Mrabet/Bowles are animated with the tension/contact between the self/other, present/past and here/there. It is, actually, a transcultural discourse that is tainted with a sense of alterity and more importantly is allowing of the dynamics of resist- ance. The narrative collaboration culminates in a contact/de-territorialized literature, a term which Deleuze and Guattari ( 1987 ) used to describe written work in western languages about outside non-Europeans. This work consists of a counter-hegemonic rhetoric which questions the orientalist supremacy. The translated texts are replete with linguistic items that are specific to the Moroccan cultural context and are kept un-trans- lated sometimes. Moreover, the sense of Moroccan style of orality is quite dominant. Such persistence of cultural difference destabilizes the essentialism and monolithic self- centrism within the orientalist discourse. Indeed, resistance is not only enunciated at the level of form, it is also expressed within the content and plot of the narrated tales. Such sort of discursive resistance can be illustrated in two short stories. The first one is What Happened in Granada? that brings together a multiplicity of nationalities (American, Spanish, Moroccan, British). The story is mediated by a Riffian chauffeur who took Mr James to Granada to visit his sick wife. The narrator was aware of the Moorish historical presence in Granada. In so doing, he spoke out his ancestors invisibility as it is expressed in the colonial discourse. Besides foregrounding this cultural memory he is presented as a powerful and rowdy figure that exalts his race and openly insults the white one. He inso- lently told the English lady during their conversation: I shit on your ancestors and your whole race a Christian pig (Mrabet 2004 , 14). He uses his native language un-translated to insult: I looked at the house and said: inaal din d babakum (Literal translation: your parents are damned!) (21). Being proud of his racial belonging, he unseats the supremacist rhetoric of westerners. He told the English lady: you re only an English whore and I am a Riffian! (19). Furthermore, he challenges the easy conceptualization of the other by the self. He assumes a position of the unfathomed/undefined subject in face of his boss the anthropologist. The other example is the Woman from New York. Again the story reflects a multicul- tural gathering in Tangier as a contact zone and destination for eccentrics. It revolves around an American bohemian lady who came to Tangier in search of drug addiction. The narrator is again a Riffian through his point of view all the events are narrated. In his turn he interrogates the supremacy and civilized profile of the west by means of high- lighting the madness and insanity of American expatriates he contemplates in the hotel. It


JOURNAL OF MULTICULTURAL DISCOURSES 17 is a kind of reversing the colonial racist discourse. He subjects


is a kind of reversing the colonial racist discourse. He subjects the white to his racist stares that depict the savagery and darkness of American civilization. He poses derogatory ques- tions that deflate the American hegemony: are all Americans like the ones inside Tangier? Most of them are . Sometimes he feels pity for their immaturity and helplessness, I feel sorry for them they all got some diseases you live with them you catch some dis- eases (2004, 62). The other is, by contrast, depicted as superior to the Americans. For instance, he said: I am Moslem. The poorest Moslem is cleaner than most Americans.This is actually a blatant enunciation of resistance. In addition, he defies the historical pejorative conception of the Moors as related to the sexual seduction and wickedness. He does not give in to the American lady s sexual approach and thus does not confirm the white biased stereotypes. As in the autobiography Look and Move on , the westerners are seen through the Moroccan eyes and they occupy peripheral place in the narration. Patterson interprets Bowles focus on Moroccan perspective and the relegation of Western self to the margin as an attempt to restore the Moors to their rightful place in western consciousness (181).


The trajectory of Translation Studies seems to halt smoothly toward a cultural grounding which apparently responds to the pressing demand of globalization. Theories pertaining to postcolonial translation have redirected the manipulative nature of western knowledge production, including translation literature, to recuperate a sense of cultural difference for the silenced source cultural texts. They provide new discursive tools which aim at unearth- ing the hegemonic structure inherent in the translational production undertaken by western authors. The reaction comes in the form of advancing reading strategies that either optimize the unraveling of subversive voices within those hegemonic discourses or underscore the inescapability of engaging into transcultural communication that the act of translation endorses. The postcolonial translation scholarship, therefore, has made the search for cultural recognition and enunciative agency possible. Through unsettling pedagogies, micro interpretive practices come to undo the monolithic constructions and thus open possibilities of cultural acceptance. Succinctly, transcultural dynamics in translation permit cultural communication between unequal power relationships and help liberate the reading process from the bifurcating rigidity that is originated in the cul- turalist discourses and supremacist trends within postcoloniality. The emancipatory prospect of the transcultural perspective in reading translational work has the benefit of highlighting the experience of cultural mingling and mixture instead of inciting one-sided identification and cultural isolationism. To read Bowles / Mrabets cultural collaboration as unilaterally out speaking American imperialist hege- mony or transgressively counteracting the western impulses for domination is to fall in the trap of essentialism that breeds only antagonism and cultural hatred. The collaboration tends to collapse all dichotomies between here and there , fictions and truths , now and then , powerfulness and powerlessness , modern and traditional, rational and irrational, ’ ‘ culture and nature the written and the oral, which have been the result of a long tra- dition of culturalist and nationalist paradigms of thought. In place of cultural exclusion and categorization, the transcultural alternative is built on the intermixture of bipolar opposites that works of literature are usually subjected to. Just as literary writings and


18 A. ELBOUBEKRI translation cannot achieve a certain degree of linguistic and conceptual equivalence as advocated


translation cannot achieve a certain degree of linguistic and conceptual equivalence as advocated within the structuralist prescriptive model, so Bowles written words cannot share textual identity with Mrabets tales; therefore, meaning is open to multiplicity of readings as there is no one center or definite truth, and the transcultural interpretation is the most suitable prism to approach Bowles and Mrabet literary project. This reading framework is sustained by the contact zone of Tangier, where all kinds of centers and streams are forsaken to the advantage of interpenetration. Edwards (2005b , 321) described Tangier as a space

suspended between nations, cultures, and languages, the interzone is a place of intermediacy and ambiguity, Bowles announces that Tangier was a pocket outside the mainstream after youve been to Europe and you come back here, you immediately feel you have left the stream.

In brief, this cursory investigation of Paul Bowles s translation of some of Mohamed Mrabets oral tales suggests that such collaborative work displays the inescapability of cul- tural co-existence in a contact zone, Tangier city, which serves as a miniature of today s globalized world. Besides, the narrators/protagonists in both Bowles ction and translated stories unmake and remake the subjectivity of the self/other and open new avenues for rethinking the colonial dichotomies and prejudices. In a nutshell, the collaborative work is seen as an attempt to relinquish the historic animosities that split the West and the East, in the hope of undergoing some constructive steps for intercultural communication and cultural dialogue supported by the interstitial space of Tangier.

Disclosure statement

No potential conflict of interest was reported by the author.

Notes on contributor

Abdellah Elboubekri is a researcher in Moroccan cultural studies. He got his Master degree in colo- nial/postcolonial discourses from the University of Mohamed I, Oujda, January 2007. He got a doc- toral degree in Moroccan cultural studies from the University of Mohamed Ben Abdellah, Fez, Morocco, November 2013. He is a former Fulbright FLTA at Drury University, Missouri State during 2007/2008. He is also a former full-time trainees trainer at the Teacher Training Center (CRMEF) 2014/2015, Oujda. Currently, he is a full-time professor of humanities at the University of Mohamed I, and a part-time instructor of English at the American Language Center, Oujda. He has published two books The Dislocation of Home in The Diasporic Literary Writings (2014) and Pluralism and Secularism In Cunningham Graham s Mogreb-El-Acksa (2015) and many articles in a number of international and national journals. Besides, he has participated in editing several books. He is a member of a research group Identity and Difference, based at the faculty of letters, Mohamed I uni- versity. He is also an active member of a research unit Cultural and Art Studies , based at CERHSO.


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