Translating and Publishing Nigerian Literature in France (1953-2017) A Study of Selected Writers

  • Author / Creator
    Madueke, Ijeoma C.
  • This project focuses on the history and process of translating and publishing selected Anglophone Nigerian novels into French, with a special focus on elements of hybridity. The corpus consists of novels written by canonical and non-canonical, male and female Nigerian authors in the years after the country’s independence in 1960. The thesis draws on multiple yet complementary translation methodologies. The polysystem theory (PST) is used to characterize the source literary system and how certain home factors may reflect on the selection of works for translation. The polysystem is also useful to position Nigerian literature within the French literary system. André Lefevere’s methodology is used to identify the agents involved in the translation of the novels and examine power relationships at play. Antoine Berman’s approaches allow for a study of the French translators’ roles and a microanalysis of hybridity. Interviews, questionnaires, email and oral exchanges provide first-hand information and complement previous approaches. A qualitative analysis of data gathered in this study was performed in order to illustrate the various trends within the corpus of Nigerian literary works translated in French. This corpus forms an online database, NILIFT, which will be useful for future research. While the field of Nigerian literature in French translation shows visible growth and progress, this study illustrates that internal ethnic divides within the source cultures, resulting in the predilection of certain types of literature, influence the visibility of certain works or authors in Nigeria and in French translation. The absence of agents, policies and subsidies for the promotion of translation in Nigeria reinforces the target-oriented nature of the process. French publishers decide which works are translated based on the author’s international literary reputation. Even though some publishers have introduced more Nigerian literary works in the target culture through special collections devoted to African Anglophone literature, this research shows that Nigerian literature as part of the general Anglophone literature, continues to occupy a peripheral position in the French literary polysystem. The textual and paratextual analyses of the selected translated texts show that French translators strive to respect the hybrid elements in the original texts.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2019
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
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