Abstract

This paper explores a way of reading Luce Irigaray's philosophy of sexual difference alongside contemporary queer and translation theory. Scholarship involving Irigaray and translation has dealt chiefly with the translation of her work by others and not with her potential contributions to translation studies. Although she does not write about the particular act of translation, I consider how Irigaray's concept of difference—especially her concern for autonomy and distance—allows us to rethink translation as a queer practice toward an embodied futurity. I characterize the act of translation as a queer encounter between a bodily text and an infinite number of unknown, possible others. Such erotics of distance adds a somatic queer layer to translation studies already marked by cultural, political, and textual differences. From this perspective, translation appears as an open community of new possibilities rather than a hierarchical practice based on fidelity and failures. I theorize translation in relation to five elements of sexual difference: corporeal density, irreducibility, futurity, the interval, and its remainder. I conclude with a literary example of the relationship between poetry, translation, and architecture by way of my Spanish translation of an “art card” by the American conceptual artist Gordon Matta-Clark (1943–1978).

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