Hysteria, Impropriety and Presence: Towards A Feminist Approach to Intersemiotic Translation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Through the exegesis of an intersemiotic translation of Hélène Cixous’ novel Inside (1969/1986) into theatre directed by the author, this chapter suggests a return to the figure of the hysteric to develop a feminist approach to the practice of intersemiotic translation. The approach outlined is twofold: firstly, the chapter suggests methods for translating Cixous’ hysteric aesthetic from prose to the stage, concentrating in particular on her use of vibrating signifiers and her methods for producing a synaesthetic experience of signs’ materiality. In discussing this, attention is paid to the differences between prose writing and theatre in regard to the materiality of their semiotic stuff. It discusses how theatre in its medium-specificity, as an artform that is inextricably bound up in time and that is characterised by a simultaneity and density of different sign systems, might be able to produce analogous, though not identical, effects and affects to Cixous’ prose. Secondly, the chapter discusses how the practice of intersemiotic translation itself might be considered both hysterical and potentially feminist by contextualising the practical research in relation to feminist theories of translation pioneered by translators such as Barbara Godard. In doing so, this chapter contributes to the emerging discourse of intersemiotic translation by offering a politicised (and hystericized) approach to it.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTranslating across Sensory and Linguistic Borders
Subtitle of host publicationIntersemiotic Journeys between Media
EditorsMadeleine Campbell, Ricarda Vidal
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan Ltd
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print) 978-3-319-97244-2
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • intersemiotic translation
  • feminism
  • practice-as-research
  • Hélène Cixous


Dive into the research topics of 'Hysteria, Impropriety and Presence: Towards A Feminist Approach to Intersemiotic Translation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this