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Translation and (im)mortality

Batchelor, K; (2023) Translation and (im)mortality. Translator 10.1080/13556509.2023.2275810. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

The idea that writing offers a way of living on after one’s own death is as old as writing itself. Within the many explorations of this topos, translation is generally seen as something that serves the posterity of an author or their oeuvre rather than offering the translator a way of living on in their own right. In discussions of other connections between writing and death, such as those that see writing as a means of grieving, translating is rarely mentioned. Against this backdrop, this article explores the various significant links that can be made between (im)mortality and translation in its own right. These include the potential for translation to serve as distraction from death as well as confrontation with death, illustrating the latter phenomenon with an analysis of Anne Carson’s translation-transformation Nox. The article also explores ways of conceptualising the kind of immortality that translators might achieve for themselves, evoking and ultimately rejecting the possibility that this is a kind of vicarious immortality or immortality by proxy. Instead, the article draws on Jacques Derrida’s notion of the secret to suggest that translators can achieve immortality in the cosmic sense suggested by Jorge Luis Borges by creating translations that are in themselves events of thought.

Type: Article
Title: Translation and (im)mortality
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/13556509.2023.2275810
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/13556509.2023.2275810
Language: English
Additional information: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.
Keywords: Translation; mortality; immortality; grief; posterity; Derrida
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > SELCS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10183281
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