---- by Brian C. J. Singer
  Baudrillard's writings present singular difficulties for the translator, particularly once his work moves beyond the critique of the sign, of the real and of the truth that would bridge the two. It is not just a question of the invention of new words, or of new meanings for old words - though there is that too. The problem is that, as Baudrillard seeks to reformulate the relation of his work to the world, he must also reformulate its relation to language. Once the relation to some deeper truth, whether ascriptive or prescriptive, has been refused, all the modes of uncovering truth - science, interpretation or critique - that gave sense to the language of theory must be rejected. Baudrillard would seek to change the world rather than understand it. But the instruments of change are largely limited to words, and these words are denied the ability to represent, penetrate, contain or control the world. They have been loosened from much of the referential ballast that held them to the 'reality' of the world and loaded them down with their meaning. They cannot, to be sure, have lost all relation to meaning and reality - just enough to take on a lightness that causes them to circulate with considerable liberty and rapidity, thus the vertiginous conceptual shifts, the rapid succession of contrary hypothesis, the escalation to extremes, the iconoclastic provocations, the oft incantatory character of the prose and so on. With weightless words one does not seek to get a grip on the world, and mould it to one's will; one is obliged to resort to more playful strategies and try to either seduce or challenge the world. Baudrillard's writing is seductive and would seek to entrap the world in a veil of appearances, but it is increasingly relative to a world where there are only other appearances to seduce. His writing is also quite challenging, but to challenge the world is to make a game of it, even as one seeks to outdo that world at its own game. Games can be serious, but only within the terms set by the game. And games can be lost, the best wagers being the most desperate. The translator has to enter into the spirit of the game. Concretely, this means that whenever he has doubts about how to translate a section, he is obliged to choose the surface effect over the deeper meaning, form over content, and 'somnambular euphoria' over reasoned prose.
   § real
   § sign
   § translations
   § writing

The Baudrillard dictionary. . 2015.


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