Goldsmiths - University of London

Poussière/Bones: On Literary Self-translatability

Park, Joo Yeon. 2017. Poussière/Bones: On Literary Self-translatability. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This research project considers the potentiality of literary self-translation as an artistic
and philosophical question in relation to, and as part of, its potential visual, sonic and
material transfiguration. The two-part project – writing and art making – is a form of
‘bilingual’ project in which the parallel parts converse as in face-à-face literary selftranslation.
By closely reading texts written by authors who adopt languages of others
as primary artistic mediums and self-translate their own works into their mother
tongue, another language or a linguistic ‘extended field’ – Samuel Beckett, Theresa
Hak Kyung Cha, Caroline Bergvall, Cathy Park Hong, and Henri Chopin – the
written thesis questions ways in which relations between different languages and the
self and others could be reconfigured and reimagined through the practice of selftranslation
in a space of literary art. As well as defining the characteristics and
parameters of explicit self-translation – such as the strong motivation of the bilingual
writers to self-translate and the bold omission, deletion, and substitution of words and
sentences in a translation which is effectively a second version, which does not merely
repeat the first version – in relation to translation as conventionally understood (often
referred to as translation by or of others), the thesis draws attention to hidden aspects
of self-translation: the self-translatability of the ‘silenced mother tongue’ in a selftranslation
between languages neither of which is the author’s mother tongue; the
poetical and political self-translatability in the merging of different languages in
sound-based poetry; and the entire removal of words in poetry performance as a selftranslation
which returns language to the infantile origin. The epilogue of the thesis
opens up a further discussion by deploying the repetitive mechanism of words and
image in the Ovidian classic tale of Narcissus and Echo as an allegorical device, which
mediates dialogue between the written and practical parts of the research.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)


self-translatability, self-translation, translatability, translation, mother tongue, language of others, origin, pure language, Benjamin, Beckett, Cha, Derrida, Chopin, sound poetry, Deleuze, Guattari, minor literature, literature of the unwords, Narcissus, Echo

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28 February 2017

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

24 Mar 2017 16:01

Last Modified:

24 Mar 2017 16:01

URI: http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/20113

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