Nancy’s book on Christianity is due out just in time for Christmas. When I wrote my review of the French edition, I remember thinking repeatedly that I was glad that I didn’t have to produce a final translation, particularly of the title: La Déclosion. I conclude with a clever little thing on the meaning of the title, based on the fortunate accident of stumbling across a pairing of “déclosion” and “éclosion” in The Inoperative Community, but I had no real idea how an official translation should render it.

“Déclosion” is a rare word in contemporary French — it does not appear in the unabridged Collins-Robert — and so simply translating it more or less literally as “disclosure” might be misleading. The neologism “dis-enclosure” does get more directly at the meaning Nancy intends, and it also has the benefit of making it clear that Nancy is proposing “déclosion” as a kind of substitute for “deconstruction.” The hyphen is perhaps a bit clunky, but given that any translation is going to be unsatisfactory, I think that the translators essentially made the “least bad” choice.

My advisor informed me yesterday that the essay on the Epistle of James, which formed the centerpiece of my review and will be the topic of a paper I’m giving at SBL this year, has now been translated as part of the volume of responses to Derrida in which it first appeared, entitled Judeities. Having an extant translation to consult will be a definite time-saver.

16 thoughts on “Dis-enclosure

  1. wow, adam, you are so awesome – how did you get to be so cool? what’s the secret? the link to your review doesn’t seem to work or maybe i’m just stupid, but you’re still very awesome, adam – you are my new hero!

  2. Didn’t mean to be dickish; I stopped read Deeptrek’s comment before I got to the part where he pointed out the dead link. Apologies.

    I like hyphens in obscure/fake/novel words. It helps them stand out.

  3. Daniel

    Wasn’t talking about you. Your only fault is writing long comments, which isn’t really much of a fault. And apparently using the word Shibboleth, but I couldn’t follow what was getting everyone so mad there.

  4. i’m sorry, i didn’t mean to be dickish – it sounded funny in my head – you have to admit though that describing your own book review with a phrase “I conclude with a clever little thing on the meaning of the title” is rather immodest and calls for some minimal dickishness – i mean if Adam wrote the above post in his diary, then i guess it’s not of my business, but this is a public blog and if you brandish your achievements in such an immodest way, you’re bound to receive some “shit” for it, right? why else would anyone announce to the world that a) they have written a clever book review and b) their stuff is going to be translated and published – ok ok i am a jealous dick.
    but there is no need to be so defensive about it, is there?

    The above-mentioned review is here

  5. Daniel,

    for someone who writes really really long paragraphs, your reading technics are not very charitable – there is no need to take yourself so seriously, is there? but i suppose this self-proclaimed “self perpetual argument blog” is really about writing, not some much reading – are you still reading this? oh well, i didn’t think so.

    Nancy’s book actually does look very interesting and i did read Adam’s review of it in JRCT some time ago, i just didn’t think that the elegant and thoughtful Adam Kotsko of the review is the same boastful and dismissive Adam that i have encountered on this blog.

  6. congradulations, adam! as for this dick “lou deeptrek” i will tell you guys that i have seen him around on other blogs and this guy is a total douche – he fancies himself some kind of a philosopher, but i’m yet to see anything substantial. i wish i could find you some links to the blogs i saw him on but i’m not that organized. i would just ignore him, people like that feed off this kind of negative attention, just do your thing – if adam wants to share his achievements on his own blog, what’s wrong with that?

  7. Congratulations?

    I meant “clever little thing” to be a way of minimizing what I’d written — especially in the context of not knowing how to translate the title myself.

  8. Déclore is the verb form from which Déclosion is derived and as a verb it’s not unknown in French dictionaries. Dis-enclosure is clunky, but close to the meaning as déclore is related to enclosure (in the sense of closing off commons), but generally means “reopen.” To return to this discussion a year or so later (a discussion I couldn’t find in The Weblog’s archives), I still think that there’s a very Heideggerian thing going on with déclosion, so returning to, say, Question Concerning Technology might give some sense of what the best way to translate déclosion might be.

  9. Unconcealment! That’s the Heideggerish word I was thinking of. Déclosion=unconcealment. Of course, it’s as clumsy as dis-enclosure, but it gets at what I think is Nancy’s attempt to out-Heidegger deconstruction.

    Of course, one could easily opt for revelation instead of unconcealment and have a handy pun.

  10. I have no idea why anyone would get upset over someone calling something they wrote “clever”. “The greatest achievement of human history” is too strong for self-attribution. “Clever” is not. Even if Kotsko didn’t mean to minimize anything, but wanted purely to draw attention to how clever his ending bit was, this strikes me as totally fine. Knowing that there is a clever ending bit makes me want to read the review more. I like clever ending bits.

    APS: Yeah, I figured that I was probably not one of the dicks in question. But, better safe than sorry.

    (I read that, Deeptrek.)

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