From Renaissance to Revolution: Early Modern English Literature in Arabic



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This dissertation explores the translation and adaptation of early modern English literature in the contemporary Arabic-speaking world. The works of Thomas More, William Shakespeare, John Milton, and John Donne have been mobilized in the modernist discourse over Arabic poetics and the revolutionary wave referred to as the “Arab Spring”. The dissertation analyzes Bahaa Jahin’s translation of Donne’s Songs and Sonnets, Ahmed Khaled Tawfik’s novel Yutūbyā, Hanna Aboud’s translation of Milton’s Paradise Lost, and Abdel-Rahim Kamal’s screen adaptation of Shakespeare’s King Lear. In their appropriation of early modern literary works, translators, fiction writers, and scriptwriters performed various acts of rewriting that aim to expand and destabilize the poetic inventory, experiment with generic conventions, envision sociopolitical change, reflect on freedom and imperialism, and address regional marginalization. These different agendas highlight the agency of rewriters and the transformative role of translation and adaptation. Moreover, the intertextual discussion of early modern English writings from a contemporary Arabophone perspective provides new critical insights into these writings and discloses new meanings and interpretations.



Translation, Early Modern English Literature, Modernist Arabic Poetics, Arab Spring, Adaptation