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Perché tradurre Qamīṣ al-ṣūf

Bishara Ebeid    Università Ca’ Foscari di Venezia, Italia    



The collection of seven short stories Qamīṣ al-ṣūf (the Woollen Shirt) by the Lebanese writer Tawfīq Yūsuf ʿAwwād (d. 1989), published in 1937, testifies to the modernization of Arabic literature immediately after the period of Nahḍah. This, the second of ʿAwwād’s short story publications, was widely read throughout the Arab world. ʿAwwād was famous for his realistic and social style and his precise descriptions of realities he himself had experienced. He produced work in other literary genres, such as novels, poetry, theatrical work and articles, but is above all considered a pioneer of the short story form and genre, to which he made a significant contribution. Although his novels and his theatrical work have been translated into Western languages, his four collections of short stories are still untranslated and therefore remain unknown to Western readers. Unlike his novels, the more easily accessible short story form enabled ʿAwwād to focus the reader’s attention on a limited and very specific number of issues and problems. Each collection, in addition, reflects the writer’s philosophy of carefully choosing which stories to put together. By comparison with the first of ʿAwwād’s collections, Qamīṣ al-ṣūf reveal a more mature narrative style. Writing about the period after the First World War, in a society full of problems and tragedies as well as strong national feeling, ʿAwwād offers his reader seven stories embodying various contemporary Lebanese contexts: the village, the city and its rural society, women and their problems as mother, wife and mother-in-law, but above all, the poverty that leads to suffering and even death. Apart from an Italian translation of one story that was published in his first collection, this is the first translation of a complete collection by ʿAwwād in a Western language. The book consists of two parts: the first is a presentation of the author, his literary production, his style and language, while the second is the collection itself, in the original Arabic text and an annotated Italian translation.

20 Ottobre 2023
13 Dicembre 2022
28 Ottobre 2022

Keywords: Tawfīq Yūsuf ʿAwwādLebanese literatureQamīṣ al-ṣūfRealistic and social narrativeImpressionismShort stories

Copyright: © 2023 Bishara Ebeid. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.