3 Jan 2018

Terence Blake’s ‘KEZIZ!, Zizek Gets It Backwards (1): Deleuze’s “buggery” quote retranslated’


by Corry Shores


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[Note: bracketed insertions are mine.]





Terence Blake


KEZIZ!, Zizek Gets It Backwards (1): Deleuze’s “buggery” quote retranslated




In this post from 2012, Blake discusses Deleuze’s “Letter to a Harsh Critic”, or as he translates it, “Letter To A Severe Critic”, in the context of Zizek’s misreading of it.


Here are some interesting excerpts:

I have translated the title “Lettre à un critique sévère” as “Letter To A Severe Critique” to keep the word “severe” with its Latin etymology visible in its literal form “severus” from “verus” – truth, and “se” – refexive pronoun. So the severe one imposes his truth first on himself and then on others., which is a good summary of Deleuze’s reproach to Michel Cressole in the body of the letter.

(Terence Blake)


Zizek ignores all the attenuating or de-realising that goes on in this excerpt: the subjunctives, the conditionals, the impersonal obligations, the uncertain “I am inclined to believe” (je crois bien) instead of the more certain “I believe” (je crois), the fact that Deleuze does not say “buggery”, but “a sort of buggery” that requires a definition and explication that he then proceeds to give. The uncertainty is left out. The movement is left out: where the text says “arriver dans le dos d’un auteur – arriving in the back of an author, Zizek retains the erroneou[s] translation of “taking the author from behind”. We know that for Deleuze everything important happens behind the thinker’s back: “The movement is always made behind the thinker’s back”. The imagination is left out: the text says “Je m’imaginais arriver dans le dos d’un auteur”, Zizek retains “I saw myself as taking an author from behind”. Decentering is left out, Zizek retains the more anodyne “shifting”.

(Terence Blake)












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