Translating Intertextuality in T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land


Despite the numerous Arabic translations of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, the poem continues to fascinate, attract and challenge Arab academics, poets and translators alike. The major difficulty in translating it arises from its extensive use of intertextuality. This paper examined how three academics - Louis Awad, Abdul-Wahid Lu’lu’a and Adnan Abdulla - rendered the intertextual elements of the poem into Arabic. The analysis showed that they all adopted a foreignizing approach which retained intertextuality in the core target texts. However, the deep immersion of the poem in the western cultural tradition and its heavy reliance on intertextuality have produced core target texts that are mostly cryptic and inadequate. This created a need for clarification and compensation to preserve the semantic integrity of the poem and bridge the cultural gap between the text initiator and target text receiver. Thus, paratexts emerge as a viable – even a necessary - element in the translation of the poem into Arabic and recreating its meaning. As such, paratexts are no longer viewed as peripheral but as an essential component in which part of the meaning of the translated text is situated.


Abdul Fattah Abu Ssaydeh


allusion, intertextuality, The Waste Land, translation.