Centre for Translation Studies


Frantz Fanon’s Les Damnés de la terre [The Wretched of the Earth]: Exploring Irish Connections

3:00 pm to 4:00 pm, 16 January 2019

The Wretched of the Earth

Frantz Fanon’s Les Damnés de la terre [The Wretched of the Earth] in English: Exploring Irish Connections 16 January 2019, UCL

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Prof Kathryn Batchelor


Taviton 16
Taviton 16
United Kingdom

Frantz Fanon’s 1961 work, Les Damnés de la terre, was first published in English in 1963 by the Paris-based publisher Présence Africaine under the title The Damned. The same translation would go on to be published in the USA and the UK as The Wretched of the Earth. Some aspects of the story of Fanon’s translation into English are well known, such as the enthusiastic take-up of Fanon’s ideas by the Black Power movement in America. Other aspects, such as the reception of Fanon in other Anglophone spheres, remain under-researched. In this paper, I present some of the findings of a recent collaborative project that investigates how, when, where and why the works of Fanon were first translated and read (Translating Frantz Fanon across Continents and Languages, 2017). Specifically, I present my historical research into the identity of the 1963 translator, Constance Farrington, and assess the evidence for Homi Bhabha’s (2004, xxix) claim that ‘Fanon’s incendiary spirit may have set alight IRA passions’.

Kathryn Batchelor is Professor of Translation Studies at University College London. She is the author of Translation and Paratexts (2018) and Decolonizing Translation (2009) and co-editor of Translating Frantz Fanon across Continents and Languages (2017). Her other publications include Translating Thought/Traduire la pensée (2011, co-edited with Yves Gilonne), Intimate Enemies: Translation in Francophone Contexts (2013, co-edited with Claire Bisdorff) and China-Africa Relations: Building Images through Cultural Cooperation, Media Representation and Communication (2017, co-edited with Xiaoling Zhang).