DFG Research Training Group Globalization and Literature. Representations, Transformations,  Interventions

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El-Shaddai Deva

El-Shaddai Deva, M.A.

Schreiben und Übersetzung zwischen Lokalem und Globalem: Kulturtransfer und Macht in der Übersetzung kamerunischer Autoren ins Deutsche; aufgezeigt am Beispiel von Ferdinand Oyono und Mongo Beti bzw. Eza Boto

Dissertation Abstract

A great number of studies investigating African literature have focused on the language used by the African writer. Whereas, because of the French colonial policy of assimilation, most previous Francophone authors would have little choice as to write in French (Gyasi 2006), one should observe in the writing of young generation authors the will to subvert, hybridize and "indigenize" the colonial language through the introduction of cultural and linguistic elements from the African tradition (Vakunta 2011). Francophone African writers could thus be considered as modern storytellers who translate oral narratives into written literature. Hence, every translation of an African literary text should be "a translation of a translation" (Khadi Fall 1993), because the first translation process occurs at the very moment of writing. Some scholars presuppose an implicit unwritten Afrophon text, a "first original" (Khadi Fall 1992, Ndefo Tene 2004) or a "third text" (Mayanja 1999)).
As interesting and relevant as these studies may be, they tend to reduce African literature to a mere function of translating traditional African narrative forms into European languages. This dissertation project aims to nuance this stance, starting from the premise that African literature is characterized by an interplay of the local and the global, which is reflected in the literary production of African authors in a variety of ways. By analyzing novels of the Cameroonian authors Ferdinand Oyono and Mongo Beti, it aims to show that not every author relies on an alleged implicit Afrophone text, though an act of translation might nevertheless be reflected in their writings. The project addresses questions such as: (1) how 'glocalized' the novels of Oyono and Beti are, i.e. how do local and global elements interact in those texts; and (2) what is lost and gained (Damrosch 2003) in the translation of the respective novels into English and German. Finally, it questions the mechanisms and conditions underlying the publishing of the aforementioned authors in the French-, English- and German-speaking context.

Short CV

Since 2015 PhD Candidate at the Research Training Group

2014-2015: Assistant Lecturer, University Maroua, Cameroon

2012-2015: Teacher of German as a Foreign Language, Lycée de Godola, Cameroon

2014: M.A. German Studies, University Yaoundé I, Cameroon

2011: DIPES II (Teaching Certificate for German as a Foreign Language), Ecole Normale Supérieure
Yaoundé I, Cameroon

2008: Licence in German Studies, University Yaoundé I, Cameroon


Das Bild des Schwarzafrikaners im Europa der 1920er Jahre. Eine vergleichende Untersuchung zu René Marans "Batouala" und zu Claire Golls "Der Neger Jupiter raubt Europa", Saarbrücken: AV Akademikerverlag, 2014.