Transforming Paradise Lost: translation and reception of John Milton’s writing in the Arab-Muslim world

Issa, Islam (2014). Transforming Paradise Lost: translation and reception of John Milton’s writing in the Arab-Muslim world. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis is the first full-length study of the reception of John Milton’s writings in the Arab-Muslim world. It examines the responses of contemporary Arab-Muslim readers to Milton’s works, and in particular, to his epic poem: Paradise Lost. It contributes to knowledge of the history, development, and ways in which Milton’s writings are read and understood by Muslims, mapping the literary and more broadly cultural consequences of the censure, translation and abridgement of Milton’s works in the Arab-Muslim world.
This study examines and compares cultural, theological, linguistic and translational issues, and draws upon primary empirical data from fieldwork carried out at Egyptian universities, libraries and publishers. It finds that Milton occupies a surprisingly significant place in the intellectual life of the Middle East. It also finds that the Arab-Muslim reception of Paradise Lost is coloured by the prevailing socio-political climate, the overarching religious culture of readers, and semantic shifts between Milton’s original English text and Mohamed Enani’s Arabic translation. Overall, the thesis breaks new ground in presenting a rich and multi-faceted picture of the potential attitudes and responses of twenty-first-century Arab-Muslims to the writings of Milton, epitomised by an unexpectedly reciprocal relationship between Paradise Lost and its Muslim reader.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature


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