In celebration of the publication of Jabra Ibrahim Jabra’s (1919-1994) Cry in a Long Night: And Four Stories in English translation, translator William Tamplin talked with ArabLit about the potential “fool’s errand” of translating a novel that was written originally in English, what might have happened to the English first draft, and what drew him to the book.
Tamplin also collected a few photos from Jabra’s archives, from 1940s Jerusalem, and from his own visit to Jerusalem to map the book’s environs.
A photo of Jabra from his Rockefeller fellowship application (1952), around the time he began translating Cry in a Long Night into Arabic.
Jabra (#11) with friends Malak Tannourji (#9) and Anton Kiraz (#10). Photo taken sometime between 1938 and 1942. From the George Kiraz archive.
The Zion Cinema in the 1940s. From Wikipedia.
Zion Square in the 1940s. From Wikipedia.
Aerial shot of the house of the Mufti/ Antoniuses in 1933. From Wikipedia.
The house of the mufti in 2018. Credit: William Tamplin.
In 2020, with the new housing on the right. Credit: William Tamplin.