ambivalence, flirting games, translating, seeing you seeing me

Gayatri Spivak commenting on and quoting J.M. Coetzee:

“It is this particular ambivalence in poems that seems exciting for this translator to access, as she makes the mistake of thinking the named subject is she. Thus the ambivalence seems to offer a codicil to that bit in Coetzee’s Waiting for the Barbarians that she had so liked: how does the other see me? Identity’s last secret. Coetzee describes the Magistrate describing his deciphering effort thus:

‘So I continue to swoop and circle around the irreducible figure of the girl, casting one net of meaning after another over her… What doe she see? The protecting wings of a guardian albatross ¬†or the black shape of a coward crow afraid to strike when its prey yet breathes?’ ”

(An Aesthetic Education In The Era of Globalization, page 273)

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