You might have read Hadil Ghoneim’s recent essay on a group of US high school students reading Mahfouz. The piece ran ahead of an Ann Arbor teachers meeting, for which Ghoneim and ArabLit assembled this list — with some help from translator Trevor LeGassick, teacher Sarah Andrew-Vaughn, and others:
According to Ghoneim, take-aways from the teachers meeting was that teachers feel they need more context in order to teach Arabic works in translation. She added that, “We definitely need to add thematic annotations to the titles” on the shortlist, and “We also need to codify/rank the selections according to difficulty.”
The list — as it stands now — was assembled in somewhat short order, and with the limiting condition that works must be available for free and online. We’d love your thoughts on additions, subtractions, context, teaching tips, and more. Post in the comments or feel free to send comments or questions to mlynxqualey – at – gmail – dot – com.
Works were chosen not to be comprehensive or to create a canon — perish the thought — but to be accessible, interesting, compelling, well-translated, and worthwhile for students aged 11-18. (Also, as I said, they must be available for free and online.)
It would also surely be interesting to dig up multiple translations of the same work and foreground the act of translation.
ON TEACHING TRANSLATION:
PowerPoint slides: Reversing the Brocade – Teaching Literature in Translation. Surely the whole talk would be better, but a few thoughts from Prof. Meera Viswanathan.
“The Seven Odes” trans. A.J. Arberry (Recommended: The first and second odes by Imru al-Qais and Antara b. Shaddad)
Ghayath al-Madhoun’s (1979 – ) “The Celebration,” trans. Catherine Cobham (note: this is a poem-film)
1,001 Nights Recommended version: trans.William Lane, revised Stanley Lane-Poole
SHORTLIST, creative nonfiction
SHORTLIST, GRAPHIC NOVEL