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Durham e-Theses
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The translation of identity in the satanic verses: a love song to our mongrel selves

Kanitz, Lori Ann (1991) The translation of identity in the satanic verses: a love song to our mongrel selves. Masters thesis, Durham University.



This thesis examines the translation of character identities within Salman Rushdie's novel, The Satanic Verses, and seeks to demonstrate how the dynamics of translating a text can be used as a model for discussing the transformations of characters within the book. Rushdie uses the term "translation" as a metaphor for the migrant experience of uprootedness that is a result of being "borne across" from one culture to another. From it, however, can be derived a metaphor for the universal experience of alienation that is a part of our shared humanity, and which describes the process of responding to a sense of "otherness" within ourselves and within a pluralistic culture. The framework which will be used to examine characters within The Satanic Verses responding to such conditions is George Steiner's translation hermeneutic outlined and discussed In his book. After Babel: Aspects of Language and Translation. The Introduction will set the context for the use of the term "translation”. Chapter One will discuss Steiner's position within translation theory and Rushdie's affinity to it as well as explain the basic translation model. Chapters Two through Five will look closely at Rushdie's text, analyzing the two protagonists, Gibreel and Saladin, as they undergo, or fail to undergo, the translation process. Finally, the conclusion will suggest that the Rushdie affair engendered by this novel is, ironically, a linguistic debate provoked by a text that urges its readers to be translated. By making its readers acutely aware of what is "other" to them, the The Satanic Verses proposes and attempts to answer a single, profoundly religious, question: "How are we to live in the world?"

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1991
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:13 Sep 2012 15:58

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