Translating trans identity: (re)reading and (re)writing undecidable texts and bodies

Rose, Emily (2018) Translating trans identity: (re)reading and (re)writing undecidable texts and bodies. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia .

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In this thesis I look at the translations of six fictional and non-fictional first-person texts. Two are transgender, two intersex and two agender; they are from every century between the seventeenth and the twenty-first and are originally written in French, Spanish and English. The writers of all of these texts specifically use writing to show their gender identity, whether that be shifting or non-binary. I label all of my texts and their protagonists undecidable; undecidability is an inherent characteristic of texts written by or about trans people and I argue that translation is the best place to explore and represent this undecidability. The texts are undecidable because they are a mixture of fact and fiction – they are intertextual with unreliable narrators and open endings. The protagonists are undecidable because no decision should ever be made about whether they are male or female, masculine or feminine.
My research shows that while undecidability is heightened in my texts, all bodies and all texts are in some ways undecidable. It looks to Deleuze to consider how they are made up of constant becomings and unbecomings and to Derrida to consider these becomings as spectres. I argue that no text or body is ever finished and texts and bodies are haunted by the ghosts of former and future texts and bodies. To represent this in translation I look to the palimpsest, the hypertext and the cut-out technique. These queer translation experiments highlight the sexual and textual undecidability that is in every text and body; it is the juxtaposition of trans embodiment and translation that helps us to see that both gender (but especially trans-gender) and writing (but especially translation) are multiple, radical, queer and undecidable, always open to being (re)read and (re)written by the author, the translator and the reader.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Literature and Creative Writing (former - to 2011)
Depositing User: Zoe White
Date Deposited: 22 May 2019 10:41
Last Modified: 22 May 2019 10:41


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