ESSAYISTIC COMMENTARY AS TRANSLATION: THE EXAMPLE OF MON CŒUR MIS À NU, BY CHARLES BAUDELAIRE
Abstract When translating Charles Baudelaire’s posthumous Mon cœur mis à nu stemmed from its many unfinishments, I offered a rewriting space in which three possible translations run simultaneously, each one of them presenting a specific dimension of its unfinishments: material marks of the manuscript; the inexistence of a defined ordering; a grid of historicities of earlier editions and translations. In this essay, I undertake specifically the case of Mon cœur mis à nu’s (non) ordering, seeking to reveal how the strategy of preparing a commentary-essay understood as a translation allowed me to establish a relation to Mon cœur mis à nu that neither appeals to rushed solutions (random digital ordering, loose leafs edition etc.) nor limits itself to an impractical linear chronological restoration of the manuscripts. In traversing the text in an essayistic way, in a specific form of commentary that Antoine Berman came to outline theoretically in its also unfinished L’âge de la traduction, a possible translation of this text is produced, drawn from lines of force that, crossing essayistic reading and writing, carves, shatters and rearranges the original. In order to discriminate essayistic commentary of translation from translator’s note, Ana Cristina Cesar’s work on Katherine Mansfield’s tale Bliss is also briefly handled.