Skip navigation

Louis Wolfson’s reformed body

Louis Wolfson’s reformed body

Rabourdin, Caroline ORCID: 0000-0002-9694-0384 (2020) Louis Wolfson’s reformed body. Sense in Translation: Essays on the Bilingual Body. Advances in Translation and Interpreting Studies . Routledge, pp. 68-80. ISBN 978-0367266998 (doi:

Full text not available from this repository. (Request a copy)


"For Louis Wolfson, multilingualism is not only a creative force but also, and primarily, a necessary force. Wolfson cannot physically bear the sound of his mother’s shrieking voice, and every word uttered or read in English hurts him just the same. In order to escape his own language, he embarks in the simultaneous study of four foreign languages: French, German, Hebrew and Russian. Though not physically removed from his home country, he manages, by way of complex literary transformations and various bodily contraptions, to extract himself from the language that surrounds him. The world he creates as the result of his rejection of the English language is multilingual and entirely his own. Wolfson inhabits a linguistic world which bears no trace of his painful English experience, but instead belongs to mute dictionaries and linguists’ textbooks.

The extraordinary account of his linguistic inventions and survival techniques is written in French, and was eventually published in 1970 under the title Le Schizo et les Langues ou la Phonétique chez le Psychotique, with a preface by Gilles Deleuze. Deemed unstranslatable by many, I will show that the book is to some extent already a work of translation, comparable to what Derrida calls an absolute translation, from a source language which does not exist – or in Wolfson’s case has ceased to exist – to a new destination language of his own, and is accompanied by a partial loss of the sensing body."

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: Ch. 5
Uncontrolled Keywords: Louis Wolfson, translation, multilingualism, Gilles Deleuze, language, body, phenomenology
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PC Romance languages
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > School of Design (DES)
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2021 22:24

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item