Rebecca Carol Johnson F'09

Rebecca Carol Johnson
Associate Professor
Northwestern University

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships 2009
Doctoral Candidate
Comparative Literature
Yale University
Oriental and Occidental Tales: A History of the Novel in Translation

This project brings together two marginalized bodies of literature—Oriental Tales in English and the novels of the Translation Movement in Arabic—to write a transnational history of the novel. Unlike most studies of the genre, this thesis looks at early novels that think beyond the nation: English novels that imagine the East and Arabic novels that imagine the West. Focusing on translation, circulation, and exchange, it examines the ways that the use of foreign characters, settings, and narrative modes helped the novel imagine not only national communities but also “translated” ones beyond those borders. This literary history thus hopes to examine not only the circulation of the novel as a literary form but more importantly, the novel as a literary form constituted in and by circulation.