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Editor in Chief's Introduction

SPECIAL FORUM: Global Huck: Mapping the Cultural Work of Translations of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Persian Huck: On the Reception of Huckleberry Finn in Iran

First translated into Persian in 1949, Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is among the most popular works of American fiction in Iran. Although the anti-US policy of the post-1979 political system has tried to erase the manifestations of the previous period’s American influence, Iranian interest in Huckleberry Finn has been increasing. There are more than twenty Persian translations of the novel, most of which belong to the post-1979 period. After a short survey of Twain’s early reception in Iran, the present paper focuses on two major translations of Huckleberry Finn as well as a stage adaptation of the novel. It also elaborates on the role that Huckleberry Finn no Boken (1976), the Japanese anime based on the novel broadcast on the Iranian state TV, has played in the Iranian reception of the novel, as indicated by the Iranian play’s capitalizing on the Japanese anime’s widespread popularity. The paper concludes with a note on questions of censorship, Afro-Iranians, and the nation’s dire need of its own novel on the Iranian Jim.

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Translations of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in France (1886–2015)

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’s presence in France went through three phases. The pioneering period started in 1886 and ended right after World War II. The single translation it produced bore the hallmarks of mass schooling and the set of values championed by the fledgling Third Republic. The expansion period, spanning the second half of the twentieth century, was characterized by the geopolitical context of the Cold War, the advent of the figure of the teenager, and the rise of the leisure society. Currently, the field is in a consolidating period brought about by the “centennial fever” spurred by the anniversary of Mark Twain’s death. Taking stock of the novel’s canonized status in its home country, publishers endeavored to focus on the original’s esthetic challenges and hired translators with expertise in nineteenth-century American literature and Mark Twain’s writings. They were able to pay even greater attention to the novel’s literary finesse and complexity. The first part of this article is devoted to the pioneering and expansion periods, based on previous scholarship. The second part is devoted to the consolidating period based on the latest findings presented in Véronique Channaut’s 2019 study of three major retranslations of Huckleberry Finn.

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Arabic Huck: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in Vernacular Arabic

This article concentrates on the author’s efforts to produce the first translation of Mark Twain’s 1884 novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn into colloquial Arabic, and briefly reviews a few other major translations of Twain’s masterpiece into Modern Standard Arabic and Classical Arabic. The article reflects on this ongoing translation project attempting to present Twain’s book in a vernacular Arabic dialect spoken in Damascus and the countryside surrounding the Syrian capital. It highlights and explains the rationale and inspiration behind this unique translation project as well as the reasons behind the selection and employment of this specific regional Damascene dialect. The article also discusses and exemplifies how all previous Arabic translations of Twain’s novel used Modern Standard Arabic and Classical Arabic and were affected by a motley assortment of cultural, political and religious factors that resulted in abridgement, adaptation, and censorship. These previous translations partially failed to capture the freshness of Huck Finn’s casual voice, childish tone, and cluttered storytelling, along with the perceptiveness and seriousness of Twain’s authorial intention, themes and comedy.

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How German Translations of “Trash” in Chapter 15 of Huckleberry Finn Facilitate Misunderstanding the Whole Novel

After the fog lifts in Chapter 15 of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Huck plays a trick on Jim, and Jim’s reproval, implying that Huck’s behavior is unworthy of a friend but typical of “trash,” opens Huck’s heretofore closed mind on the subject of race. No German term carries the connotations of English “trash” that allow extension from twigs, leaves, and miscellaneous worthless things to poor Southerners whose belief in white superiority over colored races gives them self-respect. A few recent, complete and fairly accurate translations are improvements over the early versions that appeared between 1890 and World War II; nevertheless, annotation is required to define the specific repugnant quality of “trash” with which Jim evokes the good in Huck.

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Huck Finn’s Adventures in the Land of the Soviet People

Mark Twain enjoyed immense popularity in Russia from the moment his writings became available in translation starting in 1872. The prerevolutionary fascination with his works only intensified after the emergence of the Soviet State, as Twain's critical stance towards the realities of American life, his antiracism, and his disdain for organized religion, made him extremely palatable to the new socialist government. Between 1918 and the end of 1958, more than 10.2 million copies of his books were published in the USSR. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer dominated the market with eighteen editions during that same period, but Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was quite popular as well. This essay focuses on Daruzes’s popular 1955 translation of Huck Finn in order to examine and challenge Sarukhanyan’s conclusions about the universal embrace and deep intercultural understanding of the novel in the Soviet Union. A comparison with the 1911 translation by Mikhail Engelgardt helps highlight the problems in the Russian representation of Twain’s heroes and topics, and the effects of specific translation choices on the overall message of the text.

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Mark Twain: The Making of an Icon through Translations of Huckleberry Finn in Brazil

This article aims at discussing seven translations into Brazilian Portuguese of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from 1934 (first translation) to 2019 (the latest translation published). To do so, paratexts of the translations are analyzed, such as notes, foreword, afterword, flaps and back panel, as well as other texts discussing the translation of the book in newspapers, reviews and interviews. The intention here is to show the pathway through which Huckleberry Finn was translated in Brazil and received by critics and the public and how the paratexts make the image of a Brazilian Mark Twain. The analysis will take into account the transnational approaches proposed by Shelley Fisher Fishkin, as well as the perspective Maria Sílvia Betti suggests for understanding how the Brazilian publishing market has shaped Mark Twain’s image created in Brazil.

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The Problem of the Explanatory: Linguistic Variation in Twenty-First-Century Spanish Retranslations of Huckleberry Finn

Starting with an overview of the complex notion of “retranslation,” this essay examines the six different translations of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn that have been published in Spain in the early twenty-first century. Specifically, this paper ponders how the newer Spanish versions of Twain’s novel tend to contradict the retranslation hypothesis, as they do not often portray the seven literary dialects announced by the Explanatory that opens Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The linguistic varieties included in the source text seem problematic for Spanish translators, whose strategies entail paratextual additions, depicting regional target dialects to recreate an interplay of voices, playing with nonstandard spelling, omitting the introductory note, and suppressing any trace of literary dialects in the target text. The analysis leads the author to observe how publishing norms—particularly publishers’ tendency to reprint previous translations, publishers’s commercial interests, and their predilection for unmarked texts in standard Spanish—have led to translations that ignore the diversity of voices portrayed by Twain’s novel.

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Huck’s Adventures in India: Cultural Conversation in Select Hindi Adaptations

Scholarly studies in India have acknowledged the role of Mark Twain’s writings in critiquing social justice in a transnational framework. However, in the popular sphere Twain is seen primarily as a writer of tales of boyhood adventure, and his relevance to current social issues has not been fully realized. In the context of Twain’s stature in India, this essay analyzes the degree to which select juvenile translations of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in Hindi (one of India’s official languages) have been able to harness the potential of this text to dismantle deep-seated prejudices among younger readers, socializing them into a culture of tolerance. Critiquing the range of translational efforts in two versions of juvenile readers (in both a descriptive and prospective way), the essay assesses the degree to which these translations have succeeded or failed in this endeavor. It also explores the structural and linguistic options for future translations in Hindi which could overcome the shortcomings of the existing texts, thereby tapping into the novel’s value as an instructional text for readers of an impressionable age.

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Translation Processes and Cultural Critique in My Annotated Chinese Translation of Huckleberry Finn

My annotated Chinese translation of Huckleberry Finn 《赫克歷險記》, published in 2012 in Taiwan and based on UC Berkeley’s 2002 scholarly edition, is so far the most complete in Chinese, with one hundred and eighty-seven illustrations, three hundred and eighty-six annotated footnotes, plus a critical introduction of the novel’s reception history and research about it. I present my translation process and strategy, my experience of teaching American literature in Taiwan for more than thirty years, my modest contribution to Mark Twain studies, and an interpretation of my translation of the book as a cultural critique or Menippean satire. Since my intended readers are those in Taiwan, I translate the book using a “domestication” rather than a “foreignization” strategy to suit Taiwanese language habits and social culture. My translation includes the restored Raftsmen Passage, because it makes the whole book structurally and thematically consistent, and because most Chinese readers are used to reading the 1885 edition without it. Huckleberry Finn is a book of “double text”: On the surface it is a book about Huck’s adventurous journey down the Mississippi River, while in reality it exposes conflicting value systems and subverts dominant authority. Told through Huck’s eyes, the cultural systems are reevaluated and the taken-for-granted beliefs are challenged.



The Sonnet and Black Transnationalism in the 1930s

Exerpt from The African American Sonnet: A Literary History by Timo Müller. Copyright © 2018 by University Press of Mississippi.

Excerpt from Migrant Crossings: Witnessing Human Trafficking in the US

“Witnessing Legal Narratives, Court Performances, and Translations of Peruvian Domestic Work” from Migrant Crossings: Witnessing Human Trafficking in the U.S. by Annie Isabel Fukushima. Copyright © 2019 Stanford University Press.


The New Cultural Geology

"The New Cultural Geology," in Twentieth-Century Literature, Volume 57, no. 3-4, pp. 380-390. Copyright, 2011, Hofstra University. All rights reserved. Republished by permission of the copyrightholder, and the present publisher, Duke University Press.

Excerpt from Finding Meaning: Kaona and Contemporary Hawaiian Literature

Chapter Two: Kaona Connectivity to the Kumulipo, from Finding Meaning: Kaona and Contemporary Hawaiian Literature, by Brandi Nālani McDougall, University of Arizona Press, 2016.

© 2016 The Arizona Board of Regents.

Reprinted by permission of the University of Arizona Press.

A Cycle of Poems by Toyo Suyemoto, from Trek

Cycle of poems includes "Gain," "In Topaz," "Transplanting," "Promise," and "Retrospect."


Illustrated by the award-winning creative artist John Raymond Bumanglag and told by the celebrated writer Timothy James Dimacali.