Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Beyond Gender: A Translation of and Commentary on Anne F. Garréta's "Sphinx"
by Ramadan, Emma, M.A., The American University of Paris (France), 2014, 162; 10305708
Abstract (Summary)

This thesis comprises a translation from French to English of Anne F. Garréta’s novel Sphinx and a two-part critical introduction that puts the work into context and examines my translation method. My translation of Sphinx will make accessible to English-language readers a French text unique in both its style and message. A genderless love story, Sphinx enacts through the French language and French context a genderless vision of the world that is not immediately accessible to an English speaker. The first part of the introduction examines the work as taking inspiration from the methods of the écriture féminine movement of 1980s France—most notably as enacted through the works of Monique Wittig—and from the ideas of Roland Barthes, particularly his Fragments d’un discours amoureux. I also examine how the work uses linguistic constraint, solidifying Garréta’s place as a member of the experimental literary group Oulipo (Ouvroir de littérature potentielle), but simultaneously deviates from many other Oulipian texts by using linguistic constraint as a means to raise questions about society. In the second part of my introduction, I examine my translation process, including how I maintained the high literary style used throughout the text and how I avoided gender markers in English. My aim was to preserve the constraint in order to spread Garréta’s message—that gender difference is not an important or necessary determinant of our relationships or identities but is rather something constructed purely in the realm of the social, and therefore that the idea of gender difference is inane. I argue that translating this narrative for an American audience expands the validity of Garréta’s ideas to another culture as it allows for English readers to think about gender in a different way—a way that doesn’t revolve around the ideology of difference—by reading a book that creates a world of genderless amorous relations, a world that escapes the oppressive binary of male and female, a world created at the crossroads of French feminism, LGBTQ studies, and the Oulipo, a world that can help foster international discussion and ideas about identity.

Key words and phrases: Translation, Oulipo, gender studies, queer studies, French feminism

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Gunn, Dan
School: The American University of Paris (France)
Department: Cultural Translation
School Location: France
Source: MAI 56/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Romance literature, LGBTQ studies, Rhetoric
Keywords: Feminism, France, Garreta, Anne F., Oulipo, Queer studies, Translation
Publication Number: 10305708
ISBN: 978-1-369-49272-9
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