Translation from the peripheries of world literature: The case of Khalid Khalifa’s Madīḥ Alkarāhiyya


  • Mohammad Ihssan Zabadi Gulf University for Science and Technology


Paratext, translation, In Praise of Hatred, Khalid Khalifa, narrative theory, Syrian literature.


Taking the translation of Khalid Khalifa’s 2006 novel مديح الكراهية[Madīḥ Alkarāhiyya] into English as a case study, this article examines the concept of translation from the periphery to the centre as a consecrating practice and as an avenue for cultural exchange between dominating and dominated literary fields. It draws on concepts from socionarrative theory and theories of paratext to examine the textual and peritextual framing strategies that Madīḥ Alkarāhiyya might have needed to undergo in order to move to the centre and obtain a permit for international circulation. Textual framing is examined through two strategies of selective appropriation of textual material, namely omission and lexical selectivity. Peritextual framing is examined through the powerful thresholds of peritextual devices crafted on the front and back covers of the published translation. A micro-level analysis of how the text has been translated, packaged, and circulated for the consumption of the Anglophone market showed that consecration and peripheralisation were indivisible practices. The translation of Madīḥ Alkarāhiyya was not as consecrating as one might have assumed. On the contrary, it was accompanied by a regressive counterweight that served to re-peripheralise the translated text when translation took place from peripheral to hypercentral languages. This poses a provocative challenge to the general conception of translation from the periphery as a consecrating practice and reveals the effects of power differentials within the circuits of cultural capital.