Advertisement

The Power and Burden of Self-Translation: Representation of “Turkish Identity” in Elif Shafak’s The Bastard of Istanbul

  • Arzu Akbatur
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Translating and Interpreting book series (PTTI)

Abstract

Elif Shafak has written/self-translated in/to English five of her novels. All of them came out after the publication of their Turkish versions/translations, thus allowing her to make changes in the English originals. Moreover, Shafak also contributed to the translations of these novels into Turkish, to the extent of claiming she has “rewritten” them in Turkish. In this chapter I focus on her novel The Bastard of Istanbul (2007), which presents a particularly interesting case in laying bare the paradoxical relationship between self-translation, power and representation. The controversy that the novel triggered about the Armenian issue eventually led Shafak to be tried for violating an article of the Turkish Penal Code. On the other hand, the comparison of the English and Turkish versions demonstrates that the differences between them seem to have been calibrated by the author herself in view of two different readerships, which has been instrumental in the reception of the novel. Accordingly, this chapter argues that as a self-translator, Shafak plays an “interventionist” and “trans/formative” role in the (re)contextualisation of her work as representing Turkish identity and culture, while she at the same time–quite paradoxically—objects to the “burden of [self-]translation,” which attributes a representative function to a minority writer and her work.

References

  1. Adil, Alev. 2006. Western Eyes: Contemporary Turkish Literature in a British Context. In Writing Turkey: Explorations in Turkish History, Politics, and Cultural Identity, ed. Gerald MacLean, 129–144. London: Middlesex University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Akbatur, Arzu. 2010. Writing/Translating in/to English: The ‘Ambivalent’ Case of Elif Şafak. Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, Boğaziçi University, Turkey.Google Scholar
  3. Birkan Baydan, Esra. 2009. A Case of Unconventional Relationship Between Source and Target Texts in Elif Shafak’s The Saint of Incipient Insanities and Araf. In Researches on Translation Studies, Linguistics and Language Teaching, ed. Neslihan Kansu-Yetkiner and Derya Duman, 62–67. Izmir: Izmir University of Economics Publications.Google Scholar
  4. Bulamur, Ayşe Naz. 2009. Istanbulite Women and the City in Elif Şafak’s The Bastard of Istanbul. Journal of Turkish Literature 6: 21–44.Google Scholar
  5. Chancy, Myriam J.A. 2003. A Meridians Interview with Elif Shafak. Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism 4 (1): 55–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Choudhury, Chandrahas. 2007. Turkey’s Old Crimes Refuse to Stay Buried. The Sunday Telegraph 57. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/fictionreviews/3668015/Turkeys-old-crimes-refuse-to-stay-buried.html. Accessed 22 Sep 2015.
  7. Dirlik, Arif. 2002. Literature/Identity: Transnationalism, Narrative and Representation. Review of Education, Pedagogy and Cultural Studies 24 (3): 209–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Donahue, Deirdre. 2007. The Bastard of Istanbul. USA Today, February 15. http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/life/books/reviews/2007-02-14-roundup-international-voices_x.htm. Accessed 11 Sep 2016.
  9. Eker Roditakis, Arzu. 2006. Self-translation of Celebrated In-betweenness: The Case of The Saint of Incipient Insanities by Elif Shafak. Paper presented at the First International IDEA Conference: Studies in English, Boğaziçi University, Istanbul, 24–26 April.Google Scholar
  10. ———. 2015. Literary Journalism and Translation as Dynamics in the Recontextualization of Traveling Fiction: Orhan Pamuk’s Pre-Nobel Novels in English and Their Reception in Reviews. Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece.Google Scholar
  11. Erkazanci-Durmus, Hilal. 2014. A Narrative Theory Perspective on the Turkish Translation of the Bastard of Istanbul. In Literary Translation: Redrawing the Boundaries, ed. Jean Boase-Beier, Antoinette Fawcett, and Philip Wilson, 114–133. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  12. Ermelino, Louisa. 2006. East Meets West. Publishers Weekly, 28–29.Google Scholar
  13. Erol, Sibel. 2006. Review of the Saint of Incipient Insanities, by Elif Shafak. American Association of Teachers of Turkic Language Bulletin 35–36: 53–58. http://www.princeton.edu/~turkish/aatt/pdf/SpringFall2006.pdf. Accessed 22 Sep 2015.
  14. Frank, Sarah Adair, and Alison MacDonald. 2005. A Conversation with Elif Shafak. Otium 2. http://www.elifsafak.us/en/roportajlar.asp?islem=roportaj&id=2. Accessed 12 Sep 2015.
  15. Grutman, Rainier. 2009. Self-translation. In Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies, ed. Mona Baker, 257–260. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  16. Grutman, Rainier, and Trish Van Bolderen. 2014. Self-Translation. In A Companion to Translation Studies, ed. Sandra Bermann and Catherine Porter, 323–332. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Heilbron, Johan. 1999. Towards a Sociology of Translation: Book Translations as a Cultural World-System. European Journal of Social Theory 2 (4): 429–444.Google Scholar
  18. ———. 2008. Responding to Globalization: The Development of Book Translations in France and the Netherlands. In Beyond Descriptive Translation Studies: Investigations in homage to Gideon Toury, ed. Anthony Pym et al., 187–198. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Google Scholar
  19. Hokenson, Jan Walsh, and Marcella Munson. 2007. The Bilingual Text: History and Theory of Self-translation. Manchester: St Jerome.Google Scholar
  20. Irzık, Sibel. and Güven Güzeldere, eds. 2003. Introduction to The South Atlantic Quarterly 102: 283–292.Google Scholar
  21. Lea, Richard. 2007. Continental Collisions [Interview with Elif Şafak and Maureen Freely]. The Guardian, August 7. http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2007/aug/07/culture.features. Accessed 12 Sep 2015.
  22. Margaronis, Maria. 2007. The Things They Carried. The Nation. http://www.thenation.com/article/things-they-carried/. Accessed 22 Sep 2015.
  23. Matossian, Nuritza. 2007. No Father-land. Finally, Turkey’s shame is fiction’s gain. Financial Times 37.Google Scholar
  24. Oztabek-Avci, Elif. 2007. Elif Shafak’s The Saint of Incipient Insanities as an International Novel. Ariel 38: 83–99.Google Scholar
  25. Paker, Saliha. 2004. Reading Turkish Novelists and Poets in English Translation: 2000–2004. Translation Review 68: 6–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Shafak, Elif. 2004. The Saint of Incipient Insanities. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.Google Scholar
  27. ———. 2006. Baba ve Piç. Translated by Aslı Biçen with the author. Istanbul: Metis Yayınları.Google Scholar
  28. ———. 2007. The Bastard of Istanbul. London: Viking Penguin.Google Scholar
  29. ———. 2009. Edebiyatta Kadın Olmak ve Aşk [Love and To Be a Woman in Literature]. Talk given as part of Düşün Toplantıları [Food For Thought Meetings] organised by Dokuz Eylül University, İzmir, Turkey, 17 November.Google Scholar
  30. ———. 2010. The Forty Rules of Love. New York: Viking Penguin.Google Scholar
  31. ———. 2012. Honour. London: Viking Penguin.Google Scholar
  32. ———. 2014. The Architect’s Apprentice. London: Viking Penguin.Google Scholar
  33. ———. 2016. Three Daughters of Eve. London: Viking Penguin.Google Scholar
  34. Tan, Amy. 1999. Why I Write. Literary Cavalcade 51 (6): 10–13.Google Scholar
  35. The Economist. 2004. Problems of Identity. http://www.economist.com/node/3084596. Accessed 18 Sep 2015.
  36. ———. 2007. Who to Believe? http://www.economist.com/node/8516103. Accessed 18 Sep 2015.
  37. Tymoczko, Maria. 1999. Translation in a Postcolonial Context. Manchester: St Jerome.Google Scholar
  38. ———. 2007. Enlarging Translation, Empowering Translators. Manchester: St Jerome.Google Scholar
  39. Venuti, Lawrence. 1998a. The Scandals of Translation: Towards an Ethics of Difference. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. ———. 1998b. Introduction to Translation and Minority. Special Issue. The Translator 4 (2): 135–145.Google Scholar
  41. Wilson, Rita. 2009. The Writer’s Double: Translation, Writing, and Autobiography. Romance Studies 27 (3): 186–198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arzu Akbatur
    • 1
  1. 1.Boğaziçi UniversityİstanbulTurkey

Personalised recommendations