chapter  15
The Translator and the Transgressive
Encountering Sexual Alterity in Catherine Millet’s La vie sexuelle de Catherine M.
WithPauline Henry-Tierney
Pages 13

This chapter argues that the process of translation provides a sexual/textual space that can be experimental, even emancipatory for the translator, in terms of confronting their own sexual realities. It explores the dialogical relationship between translation and sexuality. The chapter examines the textual articulation of Millet's sexual subjectivity against the backdrop of French discourses on female desire and the body as expressed by French feminist philosopher Simone de Beauvoir and the discourses on configurations of gender identity. It analyses Millet's text and its English translation through this specific theoretical optic is twofold. First, Beauvoir's exploration of sexual subjectivity in Le Deuxième Sexe through the body's lived experience of acculturation is pertinent to Millet's text given her focus on the way sexuality is performed with and through the body. The other translation aspect is made up of examples relating to sexual passivity, a Beauvoirian theoretical perspective proves useful.