Abstract

This essay explores the erotic and "perverse" undercurrents of homophonic translation by looking at David Melnick's 1983 Men in Aida, a strict homophone of Homer's Iliad into English. In order to build a foundational vocabulary for the homophonic as a translation, this essay turns to Walter Benjamin"s "The Task of the Translator" and Derrida's "The Tower of Babel," both of which engage the problem of translation as separate from semantic reproduction and which move translation towards an ethics of contact, namely in the "adjoining" of translation to the original as fragments. In Melnick's homophonic translation we see rising out of the ground of translation an act of affection in which two tongues turn "each toward [the] other" out of an internal incompletion. Proceeding from Benjamin's argument that "the translation touches the original in a fleeting manner and only at an infinitely small point of meaning," which Derrida extends into the "caress" of translation, this essay argues for a homophonic kiss of translation, the translator's desire to move his mouth, trans-historically, with another. Further, Melnick's homophonic kiss places itself upon the "infinitely small point" of the proper name, that point most resistant to translatability. By refusing to move on from the "fleeting" encounter of the kiss, Melnick extends translation into a perverted oral fixation which continues to "call out" to the original by its proper name.

Additional Information

ISSN
1053-1920
Launched on MUSE
2011-12-09
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.