Drawing on narrative theory and theories of paratext, this article examines the translation of Samar Yazbek’s 2014 Bawa:ba:t ard alʿadam into English, paying close attention to how this text is translated, packaged and circulated for the consumption of Anglophone literary market. It argues that the translation and packaging of Yazbek’s text becomes a means of foregrounding or suppressing certain narratives and of positioning and enacting agency. Considering the metamorphosis of a once peaceful, secular revolution into radicalised insurgency hijacked by Daesh and other extremist groups, this article argues that translatorial agents demonstrate a proclivity to feed entrenched stereotypes and public narratives about the protagonists of the Syrian civil conflict through translation and translation peritexts. Through the use of various textual, contextual, and peritextual framing strategies, the translation appears to be entangled with pre-existing and ideologicallymotivated public narratives circulating in the West. These narratives include Orientalist depictions of the Arab World and contentious discourses on veiling, oppression, and terrorism, which are reflected in how the highly politicised narratives of the source text are translated, and the way peritextual materials are designed and packaged by the publisher. These effects have ultimately produced the text for the Anglophone readership both familiar and exotic.
Mohammad Ihssan Zabadi
narrative framing, post-2011 Syria, Samar Yazbek, Syrian literature, Syrian revolution, translating conflicts