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Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Nancy Virtue


Department of English and Linguistics

Sponsor Department/Program

Department of International Language and Culture Studies


In this project I analyze and translate from French to English the collection Poèmes de prison, written by Zhor Zerari, an Algerian writer and militant who was imprisoned and tortured under the French government in Algeria during the Algerian War of Independence. My annotated and glossed translation will note and reflect significant poetic conventions, themes, and images. I will also present, interrogate, and analyze the translation process including important cultural, political, and historical aspects of the source language, providing a brief overview of French colonial activity in Algeria and the place of women in the resistance movement. I highlight theoretical, cultural, and linguistic problems in translation and suggest possible solutions. I present this analysis of my process in order to further understand the implications of feminist and “postcolonial” translation theory and practice in women’s writing and demonstrate the importance of these translations to the larger context of contemporary literature and language studies, French colonialization, Algerian Independence and the legacy of French censorship. I hope to expose and address a lack of access to texts like Zerari’s in literature and language study. This project is intended to complicate Western understandings of French colonization in Algeria, women militants and their role in independence efforts, and the translation of francophone poetry.



The Algerian Revolution: Zhor Zerari’s Prison Poetry in Translation

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