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Issue 65 - February 2010

Monday 1 March 2010 by Ina Doublekova

New Books Published

Naguib Mahfouz, Arabians Nights And Days, transl. into Albanian by Hysen Sinani and Sulejman Tomçini (Zenit Editions, Tirana 2010), supported by Encounters Project

(JPG) This collection of seventeen interrelated tales by the Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz uses as its main hypotext A Thousand and One Nights. The author refashions in a modern perspective some classic Arabian stories, characters and motifs, such as genies, flying carpets, Aladdin, Ali Baba, etc. Along with traditional topics – obsessive love, reincarnations, betrayal – Mahfouz concentrates on human hypocrisy, anxiety, and lost integrity. Though preserving the poetic and magical subtlety of the original, Mahfouz’s writing is at the same time deeply ironic; his realism – both psychological and historical.

To fully preserve those layers of Mahfouz’s writing is a crucial task, and not an easy one, for the translators. The brilliant Albanian translation is a result of collaboration between Hysen Sinani and Sulejman Tomçini – both among the most renowned contemporary Albanian linguists and translators. The rich vocabulary and the cultivated style of the translation manage to both keep the fairy-tale elements and to depart from them following the author’s intention. No doubt that it is only through translations of such a high quality as this one that a more sustainable interest in contemporary Arabic prose can arouse.

Podvizhnite Balkani (Fluid Balkans: collection of studies, NEXUS Project, 2000-2003), ed. by Al. Kiossev, translated into Bulgarian by Prosveta, Sofia 2010. Supported by New Southeast European History Books Project

(JPG) The collection presents translations of the results of the international research project on How to Think about the Balkans: Culture, Region, Identities (2000-2003). It explores the various attitudes, constructions, and deconstructions of the Balkan space, surveys the unstable concepts of centre and periphery, follows the changing trajectories of migrant flows, and “dives” deep into the melting-pot of the multicultural Balkan cities. The collection gathers texts by contemporary scholars from Bulgaria, Hungary, Turkey, Greece, Romania, Serbia, and Croatia. For more information about the participants in NEXUS and their projects visit their web page.