Volume 1: Imaginative promptings: on ‘translating’ Paul et Virginie Volume 2: Genie and Paul: A novel

Soobramanien, Natasha (2010) Volume 1: Imaginative promptings: on ‘translating’ Paul et Virginie Volume 2: Genie and Paul: A novel. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

This thesis comprises a novel, Genie and Paul, and a critical commentary which
posits Genie and Paul as a ‘translation’ of J. J. H. Bernadin de Saint-Pierre’s, Paul et
Virginie, an eighteenth-century French novel set in colonial Mauritius. Genie and
Paul explores its British Mauritian protagonists’ complex sense of cultural identity,
with reference to Paul et Virginie, a novel of great personal significance to me. In my
critical commentary, I explore the ways in which my novel creatively engages with
Paul et Virginie, and make a case for using the term ‘translation’ to define my
rewriting of it, with reference to the growing body of postcolonial literary translation
theory. I examine the significance of Paul et Virginie to the development of my
identity as a writer, and argue that my ‘translation’ is an effective method of
negotiating my complex relationship both to Mauritius, and to the European literary
canon. I contextualise this discussion by looking at writers who share a similarly
equivocal relationship with their cultural background, chiefly V.S. Naipaul and
Pankaj Mishra. I consider how these writers’ backgrounds inflect their respective
relationships with literary tradition, and examine the strategies they have employed to
negotiate this. Whereas Naipaul has been initially reluctant to admit to literary
influences, Mishra overtly acknowledges his in The Romantics, his autobiographical
first novel. I show how this novel is a ‘translation’ of a key text in Mishra’s personal
canon, Flaubert’s A Sentimental Education, and I use this discussion as a model for
the analysis of my own ‘translation’ of Paul et Virginie.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Literature and Creative Writing
Depositing User: Mia Reeves
Date Deposited: 08 May 2013 12:20
Last Modified: 08 May 2013 12:20
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/40468
DOI:

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