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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/17479

Title: Opportunities of Contact: Derrida and Deleuze/Guattari on Translation
Authors: Polley, Joanna Louise
Advisor: Comay, Rebecca
Gibbs, Robert B.
Department: Philosophy
Keywords: translation
Issue Date: 17-Jul-2009
Abstract: This work engages with three contemporary thinkers who offer directions for a philosophy of translation. The initial thesis is that translation is a privileged mode of examining difference in language, because it indicates both the necessity to bring what is irreducibly other or foreign into terms of familiarity, and the extreme difficulties, perhaps the impossibility, of such an enterprise. I examine the particular responses to this translation dilemma given by Jacques Derrida and Gilles Deleuze/Félix Guattari, ultimately arguing that although Derrida gives crucial insights into the problem itself, a future theory of translation would need to go beyond Derrida’s approach and adopt the radically pragmatic approach to language articulated by Deleuze and Guattari. Throughout, I examine this problem in terms of the distinction between Derrida as a philosopher of transcendence and Deleuze and Guattari as philosophers of immanence. Derrida’s work insists on the impossibility of representing the other in language, and his simultaneous necessity and impossibility of translation is valuable insofar as it offers resistances to the presumptions of translation as standing in for the other. I argue, however, that Derrida’s insistence on impossibility as marked in the performativity of language itself is ultimately unable to give us a satisfying account of the relation between language and the world, which leaves us with no direction for how we might engage with concrete problems in actual translation situations in a productive way. The central problem with Derrida’s view is his insistence on the model of inter-lingual translation as figuring the paradox of difference in language. The approach of Deleuze and Guattari reverses this order and re-conceives of translation in a pragmatic context, where inter-semiotic translations are uniquely able to release the creative power of language. Through their articulation of the expressivity of matter, Deleuze and Guattari place language in a wider context in which it is intricately engaged in a world. I place translation in this wider context in order to demonstrate how Deleuze and Guattari’s thinking about language allows us to re-conceive of translation practices as opportunities for transformations of both language and world.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/17479
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Philosophy - Doctoral theses

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