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From the Hashish in Breton to the Hashish in Golo

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Genre Fluidity and International Imaginaries in Egyptian Surrealism

image of Journal of World Literature

In the past decade a flurry of interest has appeared in the Surrealist Art and Liberty Group working in 1930s Egypt. Discussions of the circulation of Arabic literature have usually highlighted the important position of translation as cultural mediator. Thinking of modern Arabic literature as world literature obliges us to consider, however, that (colonial) languages such as French and English are in some ways creolized within, or inherent to, modern Arabic literature. The Surrealist practice of fluidity, that is, mixing artistic genres like literature and art, pushes interesting questions about the role of translation and bilingualism in Arabic world literature (or world literature written by Arabophone writers), and the need for language itself in world culture. For which national cultural sphere do we claim the work of the Egyptian Surrealists, and what kind of analytical mediator do we use to connect these works to others when translation is not available?

Affiliations: 1: The American University in Cairo


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