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Dr Chantelle Gray van Heerden

Home country: South Africa

Year of enrolment: 2012

Graduation date: December 2014

Department:  English

Supervisor: Prof Tina Steiner

Co-Supervisor: Dr Raniel Roux

Dissertation title: Praxis and/as critique in the translations of the oeuvre of Ingrid Winterbach


Abstract: In this dissertation I investigate how aesthetics, politics and ethics intersect as material flows in translation, and how these actualise in the oeuvre of Lettie Viljoen/Ingrid Winterbach. With the emphasis on praxis, I explore these three threads through the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari in particular, though not exclusively. With reference to Deleuze and Guattari's project on 'minor literature', I demonstrate that Viljoen/Winterbach's oeuvre contains a high degree of deterritorialisation through methods such as thematic refrains, stylistic devices and her use of Engfrikaans. In translation these methods are investigated in terms of the ethico-aesthetic framework developed by Guattari, the role of capitalism in its relation to translation and the publishing industry (i.e. the political), and how translation and/as praxis may begin to develop a nomadic ethics. Aesthetics, from a Deleuzo-Guattarian perspective is shown to be not about the value produced by capitalism, but rather about that which deterritorialises as a singularity. Such a singularity in literature may be said to actualise as a minor literature or, more accurately, a becoming-minor. With regards to politics in translation/translation in politics, I argue that the question of translation should no longer be What does this word/text mean? but rather What is the word/text/translation doing? When the emphasis moves from semantics to praxis I argue that translation, like other forms of literature, has the potential to affect social transformation. I put forth as part of my argument that this is possible through deterritorialising practices like écriture féminine and Viljoen/Winterbach's use of Engfrikaans and the trickster figure, as such methods allow for bifurcations away from State territorialisations. And finally, I examine how translators might begin to develop a praxis informed by a nomadic ethics which is not reliant on a normative morality, but rather constitutes an orientation founded on heterogeneity and the repudiation of universality.

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