Translator, Critic, and Scholar Georges Tarabichi, 77

Translator, scholar, and critic Georges Tarabichi — who reportedly brought more than 200 books into Arabic, including works by Freud, Hegel, Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir — died yesterday in Paris. He was 77:

Tarabichi at the 2012 IPAF shortlist announcement in Cairo.
Tarabichi at the 2012 IPAF shortlist announcement in Cairo.

Tarabichi also wrote many academic works, his most prominent being A Criticism of ‘A Criticism of Arabic Thought (2010), a response to Mohammad Abdel al-Jabri. He particularly engaged with work by al-Jabri and by Sigmund Freud, whose theories he applied to the literary criticism of Naguib Mahfouz, Tawfik al-Hakim, and Nawal al-Saadawi.

From his home in Paris, Tarabichi was a prominent public intellectual and served as the 2012 judging chair for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF).

Born in Aleppo in 1939, Tarabichi graduated from Damascus University, worked as a journalist, and later rose to head of Syrian broadcasting at the beginning of Ba’ath Party rule, before he was later jailed.

After that, Tarabichi lived in Lebanon for a time, but left the country during the civil war and settled in France.

Tarabichi has written relatively little about recent events in Syria. However, last month, Tarabichi wrote in an article, here excerpted in Al Arabiya, about his feelings: “My paralysis from writing, I who have done nothing in life other than to write, is tantamount to death. But in all cases, this is a small death considering what great death might be, which is the death of the homeland.”

Syrian author George Kadar was quoted in Gulf News on Tarabishi’s death: “I will not say farewell; because generations are awaiting an appointment with his works and great translations. He will remain forever present among us.”