Translating Nishiwaki : beyond reading

Hosea Hirata
This dissertation is divided into two parts. Part Two contains my translations of Japanese texts by Nishiwaki Junzaburō (1894-1982): three essays from Chōgenjitsushugi shiron (Surrealist Poetics) (1929), his first and second collections of poems written in Japanese, Ambarvalia (1933) and Tabibito kaerazu (No Traveller Returns) (1947), as well as a long poem from his "middle period," entitled "Eterunitas" (1962). Part One, consisting of three chapters, attempts to expose various theoretical
more » ... us theoretical issues that these translations bring forth. Through this "exposé," several major issues surface, namely, the concepts of Language, Poetry, and Translation. Further, these concepts are interrelated by a "paradisal" centre—the notion of "non-meaning." Chapter One presents a deconstructive examination of the notion of translation. Two opposing manifestations of Language, writing and reading, are set forth by way of Roland Barthes's textual concepts, "le scriptible" and "le lisible." "Writing" is here defined as a language-movement of production that opposes "knowledge," while "reading" is regarded as the consumption of codes, that is, "knowing." The question posed at this point is: what status does "translation" possess in terms of these two opposing language-movements? Is it writing or reading? Through Walter Benjamin's essay on translation, "Die Aufgabe des Übersetzers" (The Task of the Translator), as well as through Jacques Derrida's reading of it in his "Des Tours de Babel," translation is revealed to hold an essentially paradoxical function: a translation is secondary to the original in its status, yet it deconstructs the original and triggers the survival movement of Language towards its paradisal state of non-meaning. Thus translation is seen as partaking of an originary movement of writing, which Derrida elsewhere names "différance." In Chapter Two, Nishiwaki's notion of Poetry presented in his Surrealist Poetics is discussed along with Georges Bataille's notions of "dépense" and "non-savoir," as well as with Derrida's [...]
doi:10.14288/1.0097396 fatcat:jt62n6lc4rh5hclgdmaha2ntlq