Translating Mohammed Dib: Deleuzean rhizome or Sufi errancy?

Campbell, Madeleine (2014) Translating Mohammed Dib: Deleuzean rhizome or Sufi errancy? PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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There is a conceptual resonance between the rhizomatic habit in the world of plants and the perennial errancy in the (meta)physical world of man traversed by Mohammed Dib’s writing. In so far as reflective research and the practice of translation can ‘mirror’ the surface of their object, this project is a rhizomatic endeavour. It is a fragmentary journey into the desert, in search of the mysterious at’lāl, the trace of the sign, drawn and effaced and redrawn again by Mohammed Dib to reveal ephemeral truths about the self and its others. Dib’s focus migrates from early realist ‘socio-ethnographic’ novels in the 1950s to metaphysical explorations described by critics as ‘hermetic’, ‘mystical’ or ‘surreal’. The historical and the mystical, however, are two facets of the same inexorable acts of deterritorialization and reterritorialization in a precarious, often oneiric, universe. The ‘visions’ expressed in his poetics are couched in the elemental vocabularies of light and shadow, fire and water, space and duration and draw their substance from Sufi mystical scholars and poets. I posit that Dib’s nomadic contemporary writing arises from the place that lies between the sensible and the intelligible in Sufi mysticism, in a secular transposition of the Sufi Imagination: Dib neither constructs nor deconstructs. Rather, his singular style serves to hone an acutely experiential expression. Further, there is a sense in which each ouvrage is a heterotrope whereby his poetry and prose collections are inextricably embedded in each other, thus one is always in the middle of his universe. The ubiquitous entry point to this universe lies in the middle of his metaphorical desert, an aesthetic landscape stripped of idiocultural signification. Central to its lines of flight is the sign, both ephemeral and enduring, and what is enveloped in the sign is the non-signifying impact of its expression. I argue that Dib’s perennial re-assembling of ‘ces chaînes aux mailles d’acier qui sont mots’ (those chains with links of steel that are words) doesn’t so much ‘give rise to thought’ as ‘give rise to affect’.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Due to copyright restrictions the full text of this thesis cannot be made available online. Access to the printed version is available.
Keywords: Comparative Literature, Francophone Literature, French Literature, North African Literature, Nomadic Literature, Hybridity, Sufism, Poetics, Translation, Rhizome, Desert, Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Translation, Translation Theory
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc
P Language and Literature > PB Modern European Languages
P Language and Literature > PL Languages and literatures of Eastern Asia, Africa, Oceania
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater
P Language and Literature > PQ Romance literatures
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Language and Linguistics
Supervisor's Name: Schmidt, Prof. Michael and Miller, Dr. Kei
Date of Award: 2014
Depositing User: Madeleine Campbell
Unique ID: glathesis:2014-5105
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 01 May 2014 13:20
Last Modified: 28 Apr 2017 13:22
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