A mélange of the imperceptible and concrete, this is my largest project-in-progress.
The Imperceptibility of Desire:
Translating gender and exile in Cristina Peri Rossi’s Cosmoagonías
The thesis that follows is divided into two parts: a critical introduction that seeks to understand how seduction and desire function in the process of translation, as well as my own translation of Cristina Peri Rossi’s short story collection Cosmoagonías. Throughout my introduction I confront the rigid binaries of author/translator and original/translation, and in doing so, I trace how seduction functions as fluid concept, one that expresses the grand interplay of meaning in the relationships between author and translator, translator and text. Using Gayatri Spivak’s contention that the translator is the most intimate reader, I observe how my relationship with Peri Rossi has influenced not only my translations, but also the conceptualization of my work as a female translator. In order to better situate the reader in Peri Rossi’s fictional world, I use examples from my own translations of Cosmoagonías, stories that give specific context to my theoretical discussion; moreover, these fragments emphasize the palimpsestic nature of translation as women’s writing and the writing of exile. In the first chapter I aim to dissect some of the larger issues of translating gender, taking into consideration issues of power as relegated through voice. The second chapter elucidates the notion of exile through the process of universality, a concept that I utilize to confront and to extend the limits of nostalgia and cultural metaphor as they are transformed in translation. Building from these meditations, I note that perhaps the multiple versions of translated stories suggest that a single translation cannot capture the totality of meaning on its own. Only by viewing the original text through a palimpsestic lens can we grasp the intricate suggestions of the source language in the target language. In this, the translator and author both mirror the subject in love; neither the translator nor the author remains unchanged in the process.