Abstract

This article explores Buṭrus al-Bustānī's translation of Daniel Defoe's inaugural novel, Robinson Crusoe (1719), into Arabic in 1861. The translation was published in Beirut as Al-tuḥfah al-Bustānīyah fī al-Asfār al-Krusoeiyah, which translates as The Bustānīan Masterpiece Concerning Crusoeian Travels. Comparing the translation closely to the original, the article studies this early Arabic adaptation of the genre of the novel and points to the translation's preoccupation with domesticating the alien form of the novel and with authoring a new sense of nation, one that completely rewrites that of the original. The article concludes on the important role of translation in the adoption of the novel in Arabic, a genre that is inextricably related to the production of local and global nationalisms.

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