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I. Quelles stratégies traductives face au texte philosophique français dans l’aire anglophone ?

Une intelligence autre: Reception Plasticity and the Melancholy of the Translated Author

Carolyn Shread
p. 92-101


Élaborant la philosophie de la « plasticité » de Catherine Malabou comme schéma pertinent à la traduction, cet article examine la réception d’une œuvre traduite non pas auprès d’un public cible, mais pour l’auteure et sa traductrice – première lectrice de l’œuvre dans cette nouvelle langue. Tout en évoquant le plaisir de la traductrice qui jouit des deux langues, nous admettons que l’expérience d’être traduite peut, chez l’auteure, produire une certaine mélancolie, résultat du devoir de quitter sa langue pour communiquer avec une intelligence autre.

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Notes de l’auteur

[all URLs referred to in this chapter were accessed on 20 August 2019.]

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1Reception studies scholars are often so keen to analyze reaction among a target audience that two other important parties, namely, the author and translator, are overlooked. In this article I consider the reception of translations firstly by authors themselves, imagining the uncanny moment when a newly translated book arrives, dressed in a foreign cover and with what might be, for the author, an indecipherable script. I also consider the translator as the first instance in reception of a text undergoing its transformation in translation. Our analysis thus departs from a conventional reception focus on the target audience to explore the specific ways in which both author and translator receive a translation. To render this analysis more concrete, and to attest to the source of these insights, I take the example of French philosopher Catherine Malabou, whose work I translate into English. In the course of this examination, I explain how Malabou’s philosophy of “plasticity” can be introduced to the field of Translation Studies where it offers a means of construing the multiple, erased aspects of translation reception that I seek to bring to light. As Malabou’s translator, I appeal to my experiences therefore as both an example of translation reception and as grounds for reconfiguring dominant schemas of translation.

2Drawing on Malabou’s philosophy in order to parse translation reception along more comprehensive lines, I argue that understanding the translation process and agents as forms of plasticity allows us to shake off what I have described as an “elastic model” in which the translation is always tethered to a dominant and definitive original. By contrast, plasticity offers a holistic vision of a practice that suffers from being atomized into discrete parts. The alternative proposed here is that translated texts should not be analyzed as a series of individual moving parts, some more complete than others, but rather as an organic whole. I propose that textual life, including life as manifested in translation, is more effectively grasped through a plastic paradigm that reflects the way that texts are composed of generative, as well as destructive, forces. Taking my example of Malabou in translation, I shall now describe how plasticity offers insight into the areas of reception that I seek to illuminate: the author and translator.

3It is probably fair to say that many translators move happily between languages, such being a desirable qualification and feature of the métier. However, this shifting between languages while preparing a text to be received in a new context may be experienced very differently by authors. Whether or not authors have some familiarity with the translational language, culture and context, they are positioned differently to the translator on whose intervention they depend. Authors are subject to pressures to maximize circulation; translators facilitate this process. However, contrary to a generalized drive towards the dissemination of texts in translation—a drive that aligns with the injunctions of globalization and the associated assumption that increased avenues for reception are always and exclusively a benefit—we wish to account for one of the less felicitous implications of our translational dependence. This infelicity is associated not with the receiving audience, whose age-old complaint against Babel we have heard and challenged on the grounds that the fact of interdependence is not a bad realization (Shread, 2007), but rather with authors who, desiring to communicate their intelligence otherwise, do so at the cost of a loss of their own tongue. This common experience helps explain the frequent disinterest, detachment or disarmed confusion expressed by authors faced with the dispossession that their translated text represents. Dominant and popular conceptions of translation do nothing to appease this unsettling experience, leaving authors to negotiate the dissemination of their work via paradigms that are not up to the task.

4As a case in point, Catherine Malabou reminds us of the underside of the imperative to translate. She expresses a mode of melancholy that is a form of resistance to the logic of late capitalism, which defines all growth as an asset. Malabou’s response to the plasticity displayed by her texts invites a dialogue between an appreciation of how translation enables and mediates expanded textual reception, thereby practicing intersubjective encounters, and a frank acknowledgement of what it is to be translated. We might begin by recalling, moreover, that one cannot not be translated because, as Jacques Derrida put it, “je n’ai qu’une langue, or ce n’est pas la mienne” (1996: 15), or as translator Patrick Mensah put it “I have but one language – yet that language is not mine” (Derrida, 1998: 2). In the context of translation, as distinct from other forms of textuality, reception inevitably involves a particular form of departure, a taking leave and travelling that allows for an arrival elsewhere or otherwise. It may then be that the primary loss in translation is not the modified form received by its audience—that’s the red herring—but instead the profound loss of the author’s own ability to speak in their own tongue. As such, the gains that plasticity helps us reimagine in terms of the widened reception of translation are premised on a principle of letting go that may, in some instances, amount to a loss not in the receiving context, but rather for the source. As postcolonial critiques have demonstrated, the imperative to translate is also the prohibition on speaking one’s own language; this remains true in the neocolonial context of globalization. It is important to stress that this alienation occurs whether or not the author knows the language of the translation: Malabou is fully conversant with English, and yet is distanced from it as she is also from her books in Japanese, Turkish, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese and Dutch, for although she speaks English, she does not hear herself.

5Far from the melancholy of authors’ reception of their translations, I begin my discussion of the translator as the inaugural instance of reception on a joyous note since I view myself as a particularly fortunate translator. Travelling the interstitial space between French and English, yet always enjoying the privilege of returning home to my first language in my translations, I enter the play of translation with pleasure. Moreover, this pleasure is enhanced by the material I am working with, which, as it happens, is congruent with my research in Translation Studies.

6Right from my first translation of Malabou’s work, it became apparent to us that her presentation of plasticity was a gift to our field. I was translating texts that spoke directly to the act of translating and as I did so, the idle space in my mind wove together a self-reflective conception of the plasticity of translation. Throughout the publication of five translations of books by Malabou over a period of some ten years, this congruence has continued to emerge as I develop a theory of translation plasticity. Clearly this is an exceptional situation since most translations are not about translation. Moreover, it is important to note that the author of these eminently relevant works would not claim to write about translation. However, I cannot but read her that way. That’s my prism. That’s how I receive her work. Of course, as translator I see its wider purview, yet I cannot help but also make a part of it mine by receiving what her proposal of plasticity as the new motor scheme of my era offers Translation Studies. I shall thus explain how plasticity, Malabou’s signature philosophical contribution, is entirely germane to the translating process. By laying out some of the ways it has shaped my understanding of how texts travel and how they are introduced and received via translation, I hope to show how translation reception is an example of plasticity in action.

7Let us summarize Malabou’s philosophical exposition of plasticity. In its simplest formulation, we might say that plasticité describes at once “the giving (like plastic surgery or sculpture), receiving (like clay), exploding (like a bomb, think plastiquage in French) and regeneration (like stem cells) of form” (P: xxvii). This definition of plasticity as a philosophical construct may also make intuitive sense for those involved, whether as practitioners or as researchers, in the plastic art that is translation. It helps conceptualize the formal possibilities and generative shaping involved in this transformative process. Thinking translation in terms of plasticity diverts the focus from an inert object whose exchange results in an ever depleting value to a live process in which an object grows through transformation. The translated object endures, but with new formal characteristics—whether such traits are fundamentally destructive or creative. What plasticity thus brings to debates in Translation Studies is an ability to shake off stubborn and constraining assumptions in common conceptions of what a translation is and does. Where such enduring notions derive, and how they are connected to the previous motor scheme of the graphic, now eclipsed by the plastic, is worthy of further consideration, although I will not do so here (see Shread, 2011 and 2012). Suffice it to say that plasticity allows us to see that instead of thinking of translation as a depletion from an original to a secondary, derivative text, with a distinct and inevitable hierarchy, one that defines the context of reception right from the start as oriented by origin, I think of translation as a generative force inherent to the life—the plastic life—of texts.

8Why do we need this alternative framework, and why is it increasingly compelling as a schema in the plastic era? Precisely because the origin is invested with power and privilege; it diffuses a narrative that resists the very plasticity of life by laying claim to a fixed given form that seeks to determine all others. Plasticity helps us unseat the origin and in so doing is a particularly effective strategy of resistance to forms of domination. Indeed, in Political Translation: How Social Movement Democracies Survive (2018), Nicole Doerr demonstrates the plastic power of interpreters to intervene in a deliberative democracy and promote equality through their commitment to a practice of multilingual communication. Interestingly, Doerr’s counter-intuitive findings indicate that contrary to common assumptions that monolingualism assures optimum communication, the dependence of a multilingual community on an interpreter as a third party, is in fact more effective in producing egalitarian deliberative exchanges. I will return to this plastic possibility of political translation as an inclusive communicative practice in closing.

9Having offered this summary of how my understanding of translation is inspired by, and coincides with, Malabou’s philosophy of plasticity, let us move on to a consideration of how this particular philosopher’s work has travelled from French into the Anglophone context. French thought has a long and prestigious history in the United States, at least within academic contexts. For those interested in critical theory and feminism, from the 1980s up to the millennium a certain canon of work from France shone with a special allure and status—much of which depended on the translations that made it accessible in English. This history of reception underlies my fascination with being a part of that innovating and provocative process of weaving across national, linguistic and contextual differences. My attention to the role of the translator in reception thus seeks to supplement the extensive research that already exists on the topic of the reception of French thought in Western Anglophone contexts.

10One instance of reception study research with thought-provoking implications that were at the top of our mind as I set about bringing Malabou’s writing into the US in English, is Claire Goldberg-Moses’ “Made in America: ‘French Feminism’ in Academia” (2003), which highlights the significant role of text selection and the motives of a receiving context in fabricating a foreign body of thought, in this instance, a particular strand of “French feminism” that was hardly representative of the range of approaches and actors involved in the movement in France. Goldberg-Moses argues that “those U.S. feminists who popularized Psych et po’s ideas were themselves essentialists and/or theorists grounded in psychoanalysis who used French ideas to legitimate their own domestic agenda” (2003: 273). Her analysis offers a cautionary tale that counters any generalizing claims about the innovating potential of translation. Rather, it reminds us that translations may equally well be at the service of what can already be received, rather than effecting a truly innovative intervention. This caveat gave me pause as I considered why Malabou was being translated, why she would be one of the chosen few. What was it specifically in her thought that was appealing to those actors in the publishing houses taking the decision to initiate the translation and assuming the responsibility for seeing through the costs and logistics of its publication, promotion and distribution? How did her work speak to an American readership? Interpersonal scholarly networks, including her teaching and speaking activities in the US and UK, clearly had an important role in developing a certain familiarity with her work outside France, and in this she may also have benefited initially from the prestige of her association with Derrida. But what was it in plasticity that met a need in these Anglophone contexts? Would her work fill a hole or would it, rather, create a new space?

11Translations thus come with, and into, histories, even as they form their own. When I was translating Malabou’s Changing Difference: The Feminine and the Question of Philosophy (2011 [2009]), I was acutely aware of the history of French feminist thought into which this work would be inserted, as well as the debates occurring in English to which it might be seen to be responding. In the preface I drew on Malabou’s working of plasticity when it came to presenting the text in English, suggesting that I imagine reception through the Kabbalistic concept of tzimtzoum, that is “the contraction and withdrawal that enables re-creation, the silence that allows for listening”, so that I would “withdraw the French and make a hollow not of lost sense, but from a meaning for you, Malabou’s readers in English” (CD: x-xi). These quotes are from the preface to Changing Difference, the space Malabou granted me not only to introduce the work to the new readership, in the form of a traditional translator’s note, but also to convey some of my reactions as her first reader in the translation I was writing. All of my prefaces are, in this sense, testimonies to my function as Malabou’s first reader in translation.

  • 1 . Lisabeth During, Steven Miller, Sebastian Rand, Peter Skafish, Carolyn Shread and David Wills.

12The idea I am proposing here then—obvious, but warranting attention precisely because it is largely overlooked—is that the translator is the first reader, the first to receive, to shape and mold, perhaps destroy, the work in translation. I want to explore this role of premier ressort, since even as I translate Malabou, I am also bringing her work into my own discipline of Translation Studies, taking it on a deviation from its intended destination, and in so doing, perhaps giving it a new chapter in its life. What I am proposing is that in analyzing reception, we include the translator not as a neutral transmission agent but instead as the first instance in the receiving history. The translator is the hinge upon which the translation hangs, one of the new leaves in the plastic history of the work. There can, of course, be more than one translator: in the case of Malabou, she has at least six English translators1—and this is without counting Malabou herself, since she too translates, and writes, in English and is always closely involved in the translation process. In each case, the translator is the one who receives the work as it appears on the page, or screen, in translation. Translators witness its appearance, shaping it accordingly before sending it, following editorial interventions that may be more or less formative, to a new audience.

13In making these connections to Translation Studies, starting from the translator as hinge, I draw on Malabou’s work since the function of articulation was central to her first book I translated, Plasticity at the Dusk of Writing: Dialectic, Destruction, Deconstruction (2009 [2005]). I recall looking up images of the transformational masks she used to conceptualize both her relations to the thinkers who shaped her thought—Hegel, Heidegger, Freud, Lévi-Strauss and Derrida—as well as to describe the articulated relation between the graphic and the plastic. This articulated structure led me to think through the relation of the translation to its source and, notably, the role of translators as hinge, attached to both, making possible their movement, connection and difference. The manner in which the work resonates with a translator affects the outcome: it may either secure or leave the hinge shaky and creaking, open the work wide or close off elements of the text. Reception starts right here, in the hanging, in the degree to which the translation discloses or obscures a text, with this encounter that is determining for the receiving context.

14In the course of translating Malabou’s first book, I re-theorized translation in terms of plasticity, as opposed to elasticity. I appreciated how this manœuvre freed the discipline from stagnant debates about fidelity, all of which share “the underlying assumption of elasticity” namely, “the ability to revert to the original form” (P: xxviii). In this conventional model of translation, reception is never more than a loan, it allows no freedom, grants no gift, accords no plastic life to the text. By contrast, Malabou’s plasticity is a liberating vision that legitimates and explicates a process whereby texts are received otherwise and elsewhere. Although these processes will occur anyway, with or without such understanding, especially in the digital age of cut and paste, her philosophical deployment of plasticity offers tools to grasp it and to accept it on its own terms, rather than constraining it within inadequate, fundamentally hegemonic, xenophobic or conservative, analog models. Plasticity is the word we have been waiting for.

  • 2 . Thank you Briankle Chang from the Communications Department at the University of Massachusetts A (...)

15This breakthrough in my ability to imagine translation, as well as its relation to the places and ways in which it is received, originated in an accident, if indeed an accident is an origin rather than just a sharp fork in the path. It was only because I happened to take one course, in one unusual department, where one professor happened to be editing a journal and happened to want to include an article by Malabou, and to remember that I translated from French, that I encountered her work.2 All this to emphasize the place we must accord to accident in the determination of which works are ultimately received in translation, for try as we might to identify the reasons, routes, responsible parties and other factors, in the end, accident might be the biggest player. The accidental aspect of plasticity is the theme of Malabou’s Ontology of the Accident: An Essay on Destructive Plasticity (2012 [2009]). We know that paratextual elements, notably covers, are critical to reception and that the lovely sober cream covers of French philosophy books, with their elegant, discrete fonts, do not work in America; consequently the book appeared with an upturned dead horse on the cover.

16By the time I came to this third translation project, I was fully committed to that space of reflection in the translator’s note, where I could continue this theorization of translation, building on the latest installment on plasticity. Following Malabou’s meditation on destructive plasticity, in this preface I proposed that:

translating has something to offer beyond a means to an end. An embracing of translation as a practice that goes beyond pragmatics could alter the voice of translators as mediators of change. Translation might then assume its ontology as a valid mode of being in the world—a mode of being that is becoming. (OA: ix)

17If we accept this reworking of the translation ontology, then reception analysis would involve an alternate understanding of the textual becoming that is a translation. Rather than the old insistence on what this text is and how its meaning will be transported untouched, we could accept that accidents are the very condition of translation, the condition of its possibility. This would result in a new frame for studying reception, one that would not be so concerned with whether or how the work is distorted in the process, or the ends to which it is deployed, but rather an honoring and observation of the life that is displayed precisely in such becomings.

18If the word “life” appears frequently in the course of these considerations it is because it is one of the key poles of Malabou’s thought, which, as it percolates through my mind, onto the pages of her books in English, leaves its traces and reshapes my thinking. Reception is, after all, a two-way process: to receive is not just to take, but also to take in. To be affected by the giving. In my thought, my breath, the pacing of my writing, I am aware of my own becoming in translating Malabou. This is the life of translation that I wish to articulate as it is developed in the stages of the five Malabou translations I have undertaken thus far.

19In Before Tomorrow: Epigenesis and Rationality (2016 [2014]), Malabou introduced epigenesis as a new approach to plasticity. Appealing to biology through the description of the form of development that occurs through differentiation known as epigenesis, Malabou also allowed us to open the door to a new vision of textuality, one in which the text too might evolve epigenetically. In contrast to the all determining code of an original, an epigenetic understanding allows for the differentiation that occurs in translation, the epigenetic factors that produce and explain variable receptions of a work. As I explained in a new manifesto-preface, “Epigenesis of Her Texts”, “The epigenesis of translation is about how texts turn off and on to speak to their audience, to react to their specific contact point” (BT: x). Instead of looking backwards to measure itself from the source text, translation reception then would be understood as one of the differentiation modes of a text.

20Each of these moments in Malabou’s thought was a revelation. However, perhaps of all five books, it is the last, the most recent, that had the most profound impact on my worldview. As I await the imminent publication of the translation of Les Métamorphoses de l’intelligence : Que faire de leur cerveau bleu ? (2017), I am still absorbing the implications of how Malabou boldly reworks her earlier What Should We Do with Our Brain? (2008 [2004]) Developed from her talks in the Wellek Lecture series, this fifth translation, Morphing Intelligence: From IQ Measurement to Artificial Brains (2019) gave us the title for this paper—Une intelligence autre, that is “another intelligence/a different intelligence/the intelligence of an other”. While Malabou works through the radical implications of artificial intelligence for our conception of the relation between human and machine intelligence, I am left mulling two questions. First, the intelligence autre of the translator, as it encounters and articulates the author’s own intelligence. This is the hinge I have sought to explore in the course of these reflections. It should be said, however, that it is a comforting, familiar, recognizably human engagement with the other, an age-old study in how I encounter and negotiate difference. Then there is the more radical question of l’intelligence artificielle, the one that prompted me to announce in the latest preface, entitled, “Why I Translate so Intelligently: Translation mètis in the Era of Google Translate,” the imminent redundancy of translators given the rapid transformations of the digital age. I asked “How do we confront the smart translation that, pragmatically responding to language difference, inserts itself between human and machine translation, and threatens to render both obsolete?” (MI: ix). I envisaged my own future, including the end of my role as translator, as artisanal translation is replaced by increasingly sophisticated machine translation.

21While many people are quick to dismiss the change that Google Translate and other machine translation protocols represent on the grounds that they are not yet fully refined and regularly produce ridiculous or erroneous results, it is critical that we ponder the question. If I follow Malabou as she courageously works through future directions of intelligence, then perhaps I will conclude, as I have, that the new intelligence autre with which I will have to contend is that of digital technology as it insinuates and grafts itself into my life, my texts, including my translations, forcing me to transform theories as it modifies practices. My theories generally lag far behind practices and will continue to do so unless we are ready to do the hard work of thinking through the new conditions of thought. To do so is disarming, disorienting, depressing even, but that is what makes it all the more important to look at the future with brave lucidity. I take Malabou’s analysis deadly seriously, as a far-sighted anticipation of what is to come in the not-so-distant future, if it is not, in fact, already here. Indeed, whether or not we accept it, we have already become accustomed to the invitation to “Translate this Page” on our screen, or have enjoyed the benefits of using a phone to read kanji: automatic translation has already infiltrated our habits and will continue to do so as we discover how its capabilities alter our possibilities with a mixture of wonder and horror. In the field of Translation Studies too, I must boldly envisage the future of reception since reception itself is subject to, and reflective of, the materialities of my task.

22As an instance of how such materialities alter the product and possible outcomes of my interventions, I return to our central claim that the translator acts as premier ressort, by considering the innovation proposed by Native American artist Shawn Hunt in his reconstruction of the type of traditional transformational mask Malabou referenced in Plasticity at the Dusk of Writing. Working in collaboration with Microsoft Garage Studio, Hunt’s 3D printed high tech mask has the capacity to become a human-raven cyborg once the viewer dons the mask (Klein). Viewing through an augmented reality HoloLens, the mask-wearer sees a burning holographic raven that might be the phoenix of the future, a future in which our intelligence is intertwined with the artificial, other intelligence of digital technology and the translations we receive consequently radically transformed. Transformation is transformed as technology rearticulates our relations. As a mode of transformation inherent to human communication, translation too will rearticulate with new technologies.

  • 3 . The Reception of French Contemporary Thought through the Prism of Translation at Paris III –Sorb (...)

23In the course of putting together these reflections on how a translator is the inaugural recipient of a translation, I formulated what I call the translator’s cogito: je te suis. Ironically, it is a cogito that only works in French where the verb “to be” and “to follow” take the same form in the first person present, allowing us to assert simultaneously: “I am/follow you.” As much as to say, translation follows the text, it morphs it, makes it its own, thereby displaying the plasticity of the textual art. But then there is another moment, one that is quieted and ignored because the prevalent assumption is that one is always happy to have one’s work translated. To be elected to translation is to enjoy a rare vote of confidence, a boost onto the global stage. From a purely capitalist perspective, it is always good to be translated since that increases the market for one’s work. But does an author always write for market? In a panel discussion “Regards croisés: la philosophe et sa traductrice3, Malabou broke the taboo by tearing this assumption apart to reveal the melancholy felt by the author obligated to translate herself. This melancholy is all the more acute in the case of English as a result of the global hegemony it currently enjoys. Malabou names the melancholy of reception, as distinct from loss, since it is not premised on a notion of missing out on the original text, but rather, of not being allowed to use and remain in the comfort of one’s own language. Not to be able to hear oneself speak because the language one speaks is not one’s own.

24To take the example of Malabou’s latest publication, Morphing Intelligence, we can relate a translation history determined by specific pressures not always acknowledged when translations are appreciated solely within the framework of a general globalizing impulse. In this case, the prestigious Wellek lectures given at University of California Irvine on which Morphing Intelligence is based, were, of necessity, delivered in English. Malabou subsequently rewrote the lectures in French for publication in France, and I then translated the book (back) into English. These linguistic contortions must be understood as the results of the compulsory participation in the global circulation in English. From Malabou’s perspective, the efforts they demand and the sidelining of her first language, French, that they involve, are experienced as a profound melancholy. While I, as translator, was ready to celebrate the plasticity of her texts, I did not account for what this translational prosthesis represents for her. Unable to hear herself in English, she is forced to speak this language in order, paradoxically, to be heard. The transfer to une intelligence autre in the translation process may be a deeply alienating experience for the author.

25In the English translation Morphing Intelligence, Malabou added a postscript, responding to the fact that in a time of rapid digital innovation, her lectures given in 2015 were already being superseded by events and technological developments. In her reflections, she comes to the conclusion that “the burning question today is humanity’s possible loss of control to machines […] faced with developments in Artificial Intelligence, actually, the only solution is to accept a loss of control. To intelligently lose control of intelligence” (MI: x). Likewise, in her relations with translation, I detect a similar willingness to intelligently lose control, to allow for the intelligence of the translator to intervene, inflect and re-form her work. While painful, this may be the chink of a possibility that opens onto the political translation Doerr has identified. Malabou’s ability to engage with a “passionate disattachment”, to take a phrase from the title of the first international conference on her work in London, Ontario, Canada in 2016, is the reverse side of the melancholy described above. In the instance of this translational relation, Malabou’s generosity as author is signaled by her readiness to allow for the change, and even the dispossession, of translation. For all the gains of the generative model of translational plasticity described here, the premise is a passing on, a withdrawal of the author in the face of une intelligence autre. And in this widened, more inclusive space of reception lies the importance and possibility to develop, promote and ensure the continued practice of translation as a foundation that furthers our collective intelligence.

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Corpus texts

Malabou, Catherine, 2004, Que faire de notre cerveau ?, Paris, Bayard.

—, 2005, La Plasticité au soir de l’écriture : Dialectique, destruction, déconstruction, Paris, Léo Scheer.

, 2008. What Should We Do With Our Brain? trans. Sebastian Rand, New York, Fordham University Press. [B]

—, 2009, Ontologie de l’accident : Essai sur la plasticité destructrice, Paris, Léo Scheer.

—, 2009, Changer de différence : Le Féminin et la question philosophique, Paris, Galilée.

, 2009, Plasticity at the Dusk of Writing: Dialectic, Destruction, Deconstruction, trans. Carolyn Shread, New York, Columbia University Press. [P]

, 2011, Changing Difference: The Feminine and the Question of Philosophy, trans. Carolyn Shread, Cambridge, U.K., Polity Press. [CD]

, 2012, Ontology of the Accident: An Essay on Destructive Plasticity, trans. Carolyn Shread, Cambridge, U.K., Polity Press. [OA]

—, 2014, Avant demain : Épigenèse et rationalité, Paris, Presses universitaires de France.

, 2016, Before Tomorrow: Epigenesis and Rationality, trans. Carolyn Shread, Cambridge, U.K, Polity Press. [BT]

—, 2017, Métamorphoses de l’intelligence : Que faire de leur cerveau bleu ? Paris, Presses universitaires de France.

, 2019, Morphing Intelligence: From IQ Measurement to Artificial Brains, New York, Columbia University Press. [MI]

Shread, Carolyn, 2007, “Metamorphosis or Metramorphosis? Towards A Feminist Ethics of Difference in Translation”, Traduction, terminologie, rédaction, vol. 20, Issue 2, p. 213–242.

, 2011, “Catherine Malabou’s Plasticity in Translation”, Traduction, terminologie, rédaction, vol. 24, n° 1, p. 125–148.

—, 2012, “The Horror of Translation”, theory@buffalo16 Special Issue: Plastique: Dynamics of Catherine Malabou, p. 77–95.

Works cited

Derrida, Jacques, 1996, Le Monolinguisme de l’autre, ou la prothèse d’origine, Paris, Galilée.

, 1998, Monolingualism of the Other or the Prosthesis of Origin, trans. Patrick Mensah, Stanford, CA, Stanford University Press.

Doerr, Nicole, 2018, Political Translation: How Social Movement Democracies Survive, Cambridge, UK, Cambridge University Press.

Goldberg Moses, Claire, 2003, “Made in America: ‘French Feminism’ in Academia”, in Célestin, Roger et al. (eds.), Beyond French Feminisms: Debates on Women, Politics, and Culture in France, 1981-2001, New York, Palgrave Macmillan, p. 261–284.

Klein, Andy,

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1 . Lisabeth During, Steven Miller, Sebastian Rand, Peter Skafish, Carolyn Shread and David Wills.

2 . Thank you Briankle Chang from the Communications Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

3 . The Reception of French Contemporary Thought through the Prism of Translation at Paris III –Sorbonne Nouvelle, 12–13 October, 2018.

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Carolyn Shread, « Une intelligence autre: Reception Plasticity and the Melancholy of the Translated Author », Palimpsestes, 33 | -1, 92-101.

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Carolyn Shread, « Une intelligence autre: Reception Plasticity and the Melancholy of the Translated Author », Palimpsestes [En ligne], 33 | 2019, mis en ligne le 30 octobre 2019, consulté le 13 novembre 2019. URL : ; DOI : 10.4000/palimpsestes.4207

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Carolyn Shread

Professeure au département de français à Mount Holyoke College aux États-Unis ; elle enseigne également la traductologie à Smith College. Auteure de plusieurs articles sur la traduction, elle est traductrice de dix livres, dont cinq de la philosophe Catherine Malabou. Elle se revendique de la profession de « plasticienne textuelle », conception élaborée dans plusieurs articles où elle cherche à définir la plasticité, telle que Catherine Malabou l’élabore, au sein de la traduction. Depuis sa traduction en anglais des Rapaces de l’écrivaine haïtienne Marie Vieux-Chauvet, Carolyn Shread est une passionnée de littérature, d’histoire et de culture haïtiennes. Elle travaille de concert avec LEGS EDITION, maison d’édition à Port-au-Prince. Paraîtra bientôt dans la série de livres en ligne Working Titles du Massachusetts Review sa traduction en anglais du roman de l’écrivaine ivoirienne Véronique Tadjo, Champs de bataille et d’amour (1999).

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