COMPLIT 720 - Seminar in Translation
Section: 001 Resistance to Translation
Term: FA 2018
Subject: Comparative Literature (COMPLIT)
Department: LSA Comparative Literature
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of department.
Advisory Prerequisites:
Graduate standing.
May be repeated for a maximum of 9 credit(s). May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:

Writing on the “task of the translator” in 1923, Walter Benjamin poses the deceptively simple question: "Is translation meant for readers who do not understand the original?" And then he argues, among other things, that translation is meant to liberate the language imprisoned in a text through the recreation of that text. However, “[t]he transfer can never be total, but what reaches this region is that element in a translation which goes beyond transmittal of subject matter. This nucleus is best defined as the element that does not lend itself to translation… Unlike the words of the original, it is not translatable.” “When two languages meet,” the Moroccan critic Abdelfattah Kilito counter-argues at the other end of the 20th century, “one of them is necessarily linked to animality: Speak like me or you are an animal.” Drawing on a variety of theoretical and literary texts, this seminar will focus on resistance to translation — linguistically, disciplinarily, culturally and ideologically. This will be done with the help of — or despite — texts from different disciplines, written throughout the twentieth century. We will grapple with Benjamin’s foundational, anti-translation text, and read some of the commentaries written on it, then end up discussing the ideas put forward by Lawrence Venuti, about translation being a totalizing, domesticating process, meant to restore or preserve the foreignness of foreign texts. A special attention will be given to torture as an act of intersemiotic translation, and the resistance of inflicted pain to being translated and articulated by language as such.

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COMPLIT 720 - Seminar in Translation
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
Tu 3:00PM - 6:00PM
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