Chapter

Urgent Translation

Peggy Kamuf

in To Follow

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780748641543
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652136 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748641543.003.0003
Urgent Translation

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In 1971, at Cornell University, Derrida's books were being transmitted there under the sign of a very particular urgency because they upset everything and gave rise to an experience of thinking that one did not easily get over. This urgency was also political: the American university had just been badly shaken by the events at Kent State in 1970, where four students had been gunned down by National Guard troops during a demonstration against the American bombing raids on Cambodia, which had extended the ravages of the war in Vietnam. With his books, Derrida called on readers to reflect on everything that connected this unavowable violence of the fathers towards their own sons and daughters. He thus gave us the means of re-establishing links between current politics and the metaphysics of presence that he showed to have been long at work in the philosophical tradition, and summoned us to think this thing – and to respond to it. But this urgency had first to pass by way of translation if it was to broadcast its call beyond the very small milieu of readers of French in US universities. This chapter describes the challenges of translating Derrida's texts.

Keywords: Jacques Derrida; French texts; translation

Chapter.  1069 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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