Taking an improbable caracol or snail as a guide to thinking about translation, this essay ponders the sensation of tongues touching and entwining, like hermaphroditic mollusks making love. Advancing in successive whorls, rather than along the straight line of argument, it touches on, among other things, the translator’s modesty or “invisibility”; on the chance of the lucky find or fortuitous encounter; on the “passion for translation” (Derrida); on modern foreign language instruction that harbors the vain ambition to suppress the experience of translation; and on Virginia Woolf’s snail on the wall.
Caracol: Translator’s Notes
peggy kamuf writes on literary theory and contemporary French thought. She has translated numerous texts by Jacques Derrida and several works by Hélène Cixous. Director of the Derrida Seminars Translation Project, she also coedits the series publishing Derrida’s teaching seminars into English. She is Marion Frances Chevalier Professor of French and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California.
Peggy Kamuf; Caracol: Translator’s Notes. differences 1 December 2014; 25 (3): 1–13. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10407391-2847937
Download citation file: