1st Edition

Sense in Translation Essays on the Bilingual Body

By Caroline Rabourdin Copyright 2020
    104 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    104 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This innovative and interdisciplinary work brings together six essays which explore the complex relationship between linguistic translation and spatial translation and argue for an understanding of linguistic translation as an embodied phenomenon.

    Integrating perspectives from philosophy, multilingual poetry and literature, as well as science and geometry, the book begins with a reading of translators Donald A. Landes’ and Richard Howard’s own notes on the translation and interpretation of the French words sens and langue. In the essays that follow, Rabourdin intertwines insights from both phenomenology and translation studies, engaging in notions of space, body, sense, and language as filtered through a multilingual lens and drawing on a diversity of sources, including work from such figures as Jacques Derrida, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Henri Poincaré, Michel Butor, Caroline Bergvall, Jean-Jacques Lecercle, Louis Wolfson and Lisa Robertson. This interdisciplinary thematic perspective highlights the need for an understanding of the experience of translation as neither distinctly linguistic or spatial but one which fluidly allows for the bilingual body to sense and make sense.

    This book offers a unique contribution to translation studies, comparative literature, French studies, and philosophy of language and will be of particular interest to students and scholars in these fields.

    Table of Contents


    Chapter 1:

    Translators’ Notes: On Translating ‘Sens’ and ‘Langue’ in Merleau Ponty’s Phénoménologie de la perception and Ferdinand de Saussure’s Cours de linguistique générale

    Chapter 2:

    Sense in Translation: Geometrical Translation as an Embodied and Sensory Practice

    Chapter 3:

    The Expanding Space of the Train Carriage: A Phenomenological Reading of Michel Butor’s La modification

    Chapter 4:

    Making Sense of Caroline Bergvall’s Poetry: The Space between les langues and Lecercle’s Philosophy of Nonsense

    Chapter 5:

    Louis Wolfson’s Reformed Body

    Chapter 6:

    The Political Bilingual Body: One’s Right to the Other Language


    Caroline Rabourdin is an architect and writer. She is Senior Teaching Fellow in History and Theory and Architectural and Interdisciplinary Studies at the Bartlett School of Architecture at University College London, UK and teaches at the AA School of Architecture and at the University of Greenwich, London, UK.