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Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Translation and disconfort

Been to Amanda Casal´s viva. She writes about how Blanchot conceives the translation work in contrast both to the Lévinasians and to Heidegger. The central idea is to have a guiding fidelity to the strangeness felt by thought with respect to the words - in whatever language. Thought is foreign to the word. So translation is already built-in in the process of writting for there is a gap of foreigness where a foreigner can intervene. The idea that translation is grounded on such disconfort enables one to challenge the idea of a home language, of the translator´s fidelity to a growing culture. Translators ought to find ways to betray languages and words in order to be faithful to this gap. It is an important political point - translators are diplomatic agents that are to be placed beyond domestication of a foreign language and beyond strangification of the target language. But it is an interesting ontological point if we think of Latour´s monads in networks. He says somewhere in Irréductions that monads were born free and everywhere they are in chains. We can extend Blanchot´s disconfort by speculating that all actants are foreigners to the network that encompass them. This disconfort is what makes new translations always possible. Actants are foreigners to chains.

Maybe this foreigness can be understood as something akin to the withdrawal ascribed to all objects by Harman. The experience of withdrawal is felt by thought with respect to where it supposedly belong - to language. The type of attention Blanchot recommends is to the gap between thought and language. Thought could have a territory, but it is always an immigrant. The move towards withdrawal could be presented as a speculation from thought being foreign in its only homeland.

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