Wolfgang Trimmel
ifk Junior Fellow

Duration of fellowship
01. October 2016 bis 30. June 2017

Beyond Orient and Occident: Intercultural Self-Translations from Arabic to English


Drawing on examples from modern Arabic literature, this dissertation project is concerned with the roll of self-translations from Arabic to English, and builds on the newest approaches from translation studies in which self-translation is understood as a cultural practice that takes place against the backdrop of specific political and social conditions. Engaging with literary self-translations calls into question binary categories of source and target language, of source culture and target culture, and of original and translation. Literary self-translation is imbedded in the context of the orientalism debate and is presented as a possibility for transcending the constructed dichotomy of “Orient” versus “Occident.” Instead, the focus should be shifted to the intersections between cultural spaces, and the third space created by authors in their works should be the center of observation.


Wolfgang Trimmel studied Arabic studies and history with a concentration on global history at the University of Vienna. In 2012-13 he spent an exchange year in Morocco and France. In summer 2015 he completed a Master’s degree in Arabic studies with a thesis on the reception of the Syrian crisis in contemporary Syrian literature. His thesis in global history focused on the topic of the Alawite state in Syria during the French mandate period. In the course of his research for that project, Wolfgang Trimmel researched at the French Diplomatic Archives in Nantes. In 2016 he began his doctoral studies at the University of Vienna Department of Oriental Studies, where he is also an instructor.


(u. a.): „Geula Elimelekh, Arabic Prison Literature. Resistance, Torture, Alienation and Freedom“, Wiesbaden 2014 (Studies in Arabic Language and Literature, vol. 8), in: Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde des Morgenlandes 106. [erscheint in Kürze]; „Saudi-Arabien. Ein geographischer Überblick“, in: Stephan Procházka (Hg.), Unterwegs in Saudi-Arabien. Historische, gesellschaftliche und kulturwissenschaftliche Hintergründe, Wien 2015, S. 37–53.

"Les autotraductions dans la littérature arabe contemporaine. L'exemple de Sinan Antoon, auteur de Wahdaha shajarat ar-rumman (The Corpse Washer)"

IFK_Junior Fellow abroad Wolfgang Trimmel stellt am 21. November 2017 an seinem Gastinstitut in Rabat (Centre Jacques Berque) sein Dissertationsprojekt vor: "Les autotraductions dans la littérature arabe contemporaine. L'exemple de Sinan Antoon, auteur de Wahdaha shajarat ar-rumman (The Corpse Washer)".

26 June 2017
  • Lecture
Wolfgang Trimmel


In seinem im Jahr 2010 erschienenen Roman „Waḥdahā šaǧarat ar-rummān“ thematisiert der irakisch-amerikanische Autor Sinan Antoon eine von Krieg und Gewalt zerrüttete Gesellschaft. Drei Jahre später veröffentlicht der Autor die englische Version „The Corpse Washer“ und macht den Roman einem internationalen Publikum zugänglich.