"One of the most original and imaginative Arab literary critics working today. A keen close-reader, he is driven by a sense of playfulness and irony, and is untrammeled by Western literary theory today. . . . Essential."—Choice
"Its availability to Anglophone scholars of Arabic literature, as well as students of comparative literature and literary theory, [is] an invaluable service to the literary profession."—Terry DeYoung, author of Placing the Poet: Badr Shakir al-Sayyab and Postcolonial Iraq
It has been said that the difference between and language and a dialect is that a language is a dialect with an army. Both the act of translation and bilingualism are steeped in a tension between surrender and conquest, yielding conscious and unconscious effects on language. Thou Shall Not Speak My Language explores this tension in his address of the dynamics of literary influence and canon formation within the Arabic literary tradition. As one of the Arab world’s most original and provocative literary critics, Kilito challenges the reader to reexamine contemporary notions of translation, bilingualism, postcoloniality, and the discipline of comparative literature. Wail S. Hassan’s superb translation makes Thou Shalt Not Speak My Language available to an English audience for the first time, capturing the charm and elegance of the original in a chaste and seemingly effortless style.
Abdelfattah Kilito is an acclaimed Moroccan novelist, essayist, and critic. He has written several important works on classical Arabic literature, both in French and Arabic, many of which have been translated into numerous languages, including French, German, Spanish, Italian, and English. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the French Academy Award in 1996.
Waïl S. Hassan is associate professor of comparative literature at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of Tayeb Salih: Ideology and the Craft of Fiction, also published by Syracuse University Press.
5.5 x 8.5, 128 pages