VIDEO: Emily Apter on the politics of translation
On the idea of untranslatability in world literature, Apter explains:
Part of what I am doing here is activating the untranslatable, not as pure difference (which is rightly suspect as just another non-coeval form of the romantic absolute or a fetish of the Other) but as a linguistic form of creative failure.
Watch Apter's talk:
Apter reflects on her the genesis of her book:
The book's original title, I recall, was The Politics of Untranslatability in Comparative Literature ... But I soon realized that comparative literature for me really wasn't the center of gravity, or if it was, it was because it was a problem of translating itself. It's in a sense a term-generating machine, that seeks to name or relate comparative non-national entities or units. And if its an idea that congeals around some utopian idea of a planetary paradigm with an ecopolitcal purview, it's continually facing the problem of repeating the unipolar logic of global capital.
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