Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in German(y): A Study of the Translation and Reception of Adichie’s Fiction
Anglophone Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has intrigued readers in both Africa and the West since the publication of her debut novel Purple Hibiscus in 2003. She is named a leading African female writer and an important voice in contemporary world literature. Her work is currently available in 37 languages other than English. This dissertation conducts a study of the German translation of Adichie’s three novels Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun (2006) and Americanah (2013). The point of departure is that since the translation of literature involves a transfer of cultural, political and socio-historic components, beyond the linguistic transfer, literary and translation scholarship must engage more with translated literature. Given the vast differences in literary and cultural norms between German and Nigerian literature, I am interested in parts of the text that may be deemed as ‘foreign’ and challenge the translator to orientate the reader of the German text through certain strategies. Mainly, I analyse the author’s use of her mother tongue, Igbo, in the text, references to certain cultural practices, and descriptions of the colonial and post-colonial Nigerian state, the Nigerian civil war and familial dynamics in each work and how these aspects are transferred to the German text. Through interviews with the translators, I seek to shed light on the steps involved in their practical process and the challenges involved in the German translation of Adichie’s work and that of Anglophone Nigerian/ African literature in general. The research furthermore proposes that Anglophone African and Nigerian literatures are becoming a larger part of the Anglophone literature currently available in German translation. I thus conduct a study of the reception of Adichie’s work and that of Anglophone Nigerian works translated and published in Germany between 2000 and 2017. In discussing German literature and Anglophone Nigerian literature as two different yet interlinked systems, I base myself on the translation studies framework of Polysystems Theory. This theory allows for thorough investigations of the complexities and elements that shape and develop literary systems.
Subject: English Studies
Supervisors: Prof. Dr Mark Stein, Prof. Dr Lut Missinne