French Translations: Works in Progress

comments 23
Bachelard / badiou / Boudot / Deleuze / French Translation / guattari / Laruelle / Lautman / Lyotard / Ruyer / Serres / Simondon / Stengers / Untranslated Theory / Whitehead


My last six posts have all been translations; they range from philosophy of science to paradigms for approaching and studying Nietzsche. I plan to continue working on translating Boudot’s work (including sections from three of his books on Nietzsche, featuring comparisons of Nietzsche with Bataille, Camus, and Bachelard); Ruyer’s work (Genesis of Living Forms, Cybernetics and the Origin of Information, and The Paradoxes of Consciousness and the Limits of Automatism); Guattari’s work (Schizoanalytic Cartographies; The Machinic Unconscious; and Psychoanalysis and Transversality); Laruelle’s work (Nietzsche contra
Heidegger; Beyond the Power Principle
); Badiou’s (early) work (Theory of the Subject; Of Ideology); Simondon’s work (The Individual and Its Physico-Biological Genesis; Psychic and Collective Individuation; and
On the Mode of the Existence of Technical Objects); and Serres’s work (Hermes II, III, and IV; The Origins of Geometry).

I only say this to arouse a little excitement in the reader, because I’d love to get some feedback about possible translation projects for other untranslated works of French theory/philosophy. Some other works that come to mind, for me, are Lyotard’s Discours et figure cited by D+G in Anti-Oedipus as the first sustained critique of the signifier (maybe a project for Sid’s Philosophy of Language [Being, Structure, Language?]); also Badiou’s novels and plays, along with his pamphlet on Sartre–the first literary comparison of the authors in English? Canguilhem is largely untranslated, and there are gaps in Dumezil’s work in English. There’s always the hilarious idea of translating Lacan (why though with the bootlegs already?). Many Spinoza authors (including Macherey, Alquié, Balibar, -Althusser-) remain untranslated, although Warren Montag and Ted Stolze did an amazing job in The New Spinoza. Many of Deleuze’s seminars are untranslated even. Isabelle Stenger’s work on Whitehead needs to be translated; Zourabichvili is always cited by major Deleuze scholars, and he is untranslated as well. Alliez, Kofman, the Royaumont Conference, the Nietzsche aujourd’hui, Bachelard’s early work (cited by Deleuze in Difference in Repetition), Brehier’s book on the Stoics, Brunschvig, and, finally, Cavailles and Lautman.

The translations that are already on the site will be continually updated and modified, and at a later date introduced with critical commentary. I wish this to be of use and interest to everyone, so come back often and check the translations in progress and, more than anything else, let me know how I can include selections from works that you would like to see translated.

Here are the stable links:

Badiou – Sections 1-3 of The Concept of the Model: Introduction to a Materialist Epistemology of Mathematics

Jean-Hugues Barthélémy – First half of Chapter 1 of Thinking Individuation: Simondon and the Philosophy of Nature

Véronique Bergen – Diagram of the evolution of Deleuzian concepts from Deleuze’s Ontology; Syntheses of the Unconscious in Difference and Repetition

Boudot – The Dia-critical Method; Nietzsche’s Ontology; Discussion at Nietzsche aujourd’hui

Laruelle – Preface to Beyond the Power Principle ; 6 Selections from the Dictionary of Non-Philosophy ; Definition of Vision-in-One (Tr. Sid Littlefield)

Lautman – Introduction to the Essay on the Notions of Structure and Existence in Mathematics: Models of Structure

Ruyer – Introduction to Genesis of Living Forms

Serres – “Eternal Return” ; “Mathematization of Empiricism”

Simondon – Section 1, Chapter 1 of The Individual and Its Physico-Biological Genesis ; Completion of Section 1, Chapter 1.

Zourabichvili – Two Entries from Deleuze’s Vocabulary

The Author

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  1. Pingback: Translations « American Stranger

  2. Ryan/Aless says

    Since I can’t read French (as of yet), I do appreciate these translations. Perhaps at a later date you can compile a sort of guide (perhaps by theme or author?) to the translations you’ve done, to make browsing through them (even) more manageable.

  3. hi!
    all of the books you listed NEEEEED to be translated so badly, I’m glad someone else out there is driven to work on this too. I’m getting underway on a translation of Francois Zourabichili’s book on Deleuze, but wish I had more time to work on some of these other texts too. added to your list should be Juliette Simont’s important ‘Essai’ on Kant Hegel and Deleuze, as well as Bergen’s work on Deleuze. Gueroult’s books on Spinoza as well. lastly, I’m so so glad you’re working on Serres too, as he’s so overlooked by people who otherwise read all this other stuff.
    very enthused,

  4. Hey kieran, thanks for the comment! I forgot to mention Gueroult among the Spinoza commentators (you’re definitely right to remind me, especially since Deleuze references him in Desert Islands and elsewhere). I was also thinking about translating some of Gilles Chatelet because of that too–I think he even has a review or essay on Being and Event that is untranslated.

    I had never heard of Simont or Bergen, and so I’m getting them in through interlibrary loan (one of them is like 780+ pages! crazy!). How far have you gotten on the Zourabichvili? It’s only 128 pages, and it makes me really tempted to want to help out. I’d be willing to part out the book and translate it with you if you want help, or I’d even check your translations or simply enjoy your work. Whichever is appealing to you.

    I’m not sure when I’ll get around to the Deleuze to be honest. I’m writing a paper on Simondon and Ruyer (mostly Simondon) for a philosophy of science class, and so I’m pretty sure that I’ll bring in A Thousand Plateaus and his review of IPBG along with Elie During’s essay on Simondon/A Thousand Plateaus (you can see the link to the French essay on Simondon’s wiki page, and I’m sure I’ll translate it and post it here soon).

    Right now I’m working on Barthelemy’s Penser l’individuation, one of his two books he published on Simondon in 2005. It seems like in France especially that Simondon is coming back into vogue, and Alberto Toscano just recently published a translation of one of his essays this year in Interact or Die!

    Anyway, I got off topic. Just if you’re interested, I’m also planning on translating two reviews of Badiou’s Deleuze along with two Eric Alliez pieces on Deleze/Badiou. To be honest, that’s where my main interests lie–the (non)dialogue between Deleuze(ians) and Badiou–and you can especially see that in my post “Wandering Fidelity…” on this blog. In any case, this is one of the main reasons why I’m translating Guattari–I feel like he’s been shunned and misunderstood and unread for too long, especially among Deleuzians and Badiou, the latter of whom refuses to engage seriously with Deleuze’s work with Guattari (and if you’ve read his 1975 essay on Anti-Oedipus, he also refuses to seriously deal with the work there either). This is also why I want to translate Badiou’s books (Theory of Contradiction, Of Ideology) which come out around 75-76, and which D+G attack in an interesting footnote in A Thousand Plateaus (section 9 on Micropolitics, footnote 20)–this footnote is a little treasure to me, especially since I’ve never seen a Deleuzian cite this footnote or engage with it critically–which is a shame considering that it’s the first place we see D+G talk about Badiou–this happens again in What Is Philosophy?

    Finally, I’m hoping that the Laruelle translations will give me an edge in expanding the discussion to make it Deleuze/Laruelle/Badiou–these three are probably my key fascinations.

    I know I rambled a little bit here, but I was excited by a fellow translator. Forgive me (even though I’m not sorry).

  5. Mark Crosby says

    Really great stuff! (More Guattari & Serres 😉

    Wikipedia tells us:
    François Châtelet (1925-1985) est un philosophe français
    Gilles Châtelet (1945-1999) est un philosophe français

    I thought you meant François (who managed the philosophy department at Paris VIII for many years) because Deleuze wrote a brief tribute to him after his death:
    Pericles and Verdi: The Philosophy of Francois Chatelet.

    It looks like Deleuze’s essay has been translated by Charles T Wolf for The Opera Quarterly – Volume 21, Number 4, Autumn 2005, pp. 716-724.

    You might be able to access this at Project Muse, but I am not in academia and have no access to these restricted sites. The blurb I can access begins:
    “Francois Chatelet always defined himself as a rationalist — but what kind of rationalism? He refers incessantly to Plato, Hegel, and Marx, but is above all an Aristotelian. What then distinguishes him from a Thomist? Undoubtedly, it is his way of impugning God, along with all transcendence”.

  6. You’re right to bring up the two Chatelets. In a hurry, I confused Gilles and Francois, and that’s why I made the confusion. I did mean Gilles earlier (I doubt Francois knew of Being and Event?), though I was referring to Francois when I said that Deleuze made me think of him (I have the translation of that essay that you’re referring to, it’s really interesting). In a way, as I was talking to my professor today, both Gilles and Francois Chatelet have interesting contributions–and I think Gilles was Deleuze’s student, though I can’t be completely sure about that one. I have a feeling I might want to translate Chatelet’s book on Pericles, only because it sounds like a book Serres would write (silly analogy, I know, Hermes/Pericles?). Anyway, I appreciate the comment, especially since few people interested in Deleuze are also aware of some of the minor influences/voices that augment Deleuze’s writing. In fact, (and I can’t find it at the moment) I think that one of the Chatelet’s (probably Gilles) appears in one of the Deleuze seminars, though it might take me a while to find out which one I’m thinking of.

  7. thanks a lot for the translations of
    Simondon and myself. Other works about Simondon will be organised or published soon in France. The thought of my “spiritual father” is really growing in my country.
    Best regards,
    Jean-Hugues Barthélémy
    Université Paris 8 et Maison des Sciences de l’Homme de Paris-Nord

  8. hey taylor,
    i’ve been bogged down with other work lately, so I haven’t gotten back to the Zourabichvili in weeks. but I would most definitely appreciate having someone who translates and is familiar with deleuzian vocab look over and help correct the translation, that would be invaluable. thanks so much for your offer! I’ll probably need this more in the early spring, as i have a HEAVY class load in the next 3 months, and it will be a very part-time thing, despite the fact that I am very excited about it. there was talk [with some more well-published and well-connected Deleuze scholars at Deleuze Camp this summer] of possibly doing a collection of Z’s work in an english publication, which would involve his main book, his ‘vocab’, and some untranslated essays….perhaps some help getting more of the essays (if this plan pans out and there is in fact a publisher for it) would be most excellent.
    perhaps you can email me offline and we’ll talk more about this. i think my email should show up for you.

    yes, the laruelle-deleuze-badiou connection is VERY interesting. aside from Mullarky’s treatment (which i don’t think did justice to deleuze, but rather fell into this inane dualist reading of his work which completely overlooks the problems of individuation and the time of the event), only really Ray Brassier has attempted to take seriously this third link in the puzzle of contemporary post-transcendental philosophy. his dissertation is published, as you probably know (“the decline of materialism in favor of matter”, just google it) online for free, and is the only serious engagement in in english yet of this important conversation. the first chapter of his new book is also avail for free, email me if you can’t find it I’ll send it along.
    i too have a fascination with the lesser-known influences on deleuze, and the minor encounters they get into. for this reason, it’s all the more interesting that while badiou was playing sassy toward D&G’s A-O in the 70’s, Laruelle was taking them dead seriously, and was perhaps the first person (besides Lyotard’s Lib Econ) to write a philosophical study inspired heavily by Deleuze (and also Derrida in this case, i’m told). it is sadly untranslated, like most of his fascinating work. I have a few of L’s books in french, and considered the idea of working on some translations, but don’t have a plan to do anything serious as of yet. I honestly wonder if there’s an audience for him in the english speaking world? how many years was it before anyone began reading deleuze? 30? will we wait that long before these other fellows are read?
    anyway, it’s good some people are interested. that’s enough.

  9. ps. that Simont book is freaking amazing. prepare to have your socks blown off. it makes most english language scholarship look like a running joke, it’s so heavy.
    and the bergen, yeah, she’s a student of Alliez’s actually. that book is a monster. I have yet to get too far into it.
    anyway, i’m interested in your thoughts on them when they arrive.

  10. Thank you so much for your correspondence here! I was very excited about your first comment, and I’m thrilled to have you come back and return your thoughts. I have the book that you’re talking about: the book on Deleuze and Derrida (more Derrida, sadly, than Deleuze) is called Philosophies of Difference, and the other book by Laruelle that is close to D+G is called Textual Machines. And you’re right about Laruelle and Badiou: Badiou, on the one hand, doesn’t seem to understand or want to understand, or take seriously D+G’s project. It’s easier to say they’re returning to Kant with a ‘duty’ of the subject (I still have yet to understand Badiou’s intellectual contribution in his essay on “The Flux and the Party”–I understand his polemical contribution all too well). But Laruelle does take them seriously, as you say, and even seems to add critical remarks and challenges here and there (for example, in the introduction to Beyond the Power Principle on this site, one can notice that Laruelle asks the question of the profit of the microphysical scale, and other small things that ring of D+G).

    I just got the Zourabichvili vocabulary book in. I would definitely be interested in working collaboratively with you and others on these works and essays. I think that English Deleuzian scholarship can profit so much from a new, healthy influx of critical material. I worry sometimes that we, on the one hand, have great minds and strong approaches, but, on the other hand, one can’t help but feel like many paths are foreclosed in order to focus on particular, worn-out concepts in Deleuze (or worse, there is a conceptual dance where the scholar wonders how using terms like BwO, counter-actualization, singularity, the virtual, smooth space, etc. can turn into poetic phrases that move the reader, or something more absurd). All I’m saying is: there needs to be more rigor, we have enough rhetoric in this field.

    So yes, [and I have a rough schedule this semester too, though I plan to work on this stuff all next year ), I would love to plan with you on translations, and I will help you as much as I can with the Zourabichvili, especially with contributing some dictionary entries from the vocabulary book. (Oh, and before I forget, there’s an essay that would be interesting to translate on Badiou and non-philosophy: more on that later).

    And it’s a crazy coincidence! I ordered the Bergen and Simont the day after you messaged me. The Simont came in a week ago, but the Bergen only just came in today! (Along with Hegel ou Spinoza by Macheray, Penser le Multiple on Badiou, and Elements de la psycho-biologie by Raymond Ruyer, which looks really really fascinating). The Simont book–I would like to translate the section on Deleuze Hegel or on Deleuze and Maimon, but my projects are on Spinoza and Hegel, so I don’t know when I’ll be able to get to it. I may have to part it out in small quantities and translate it in small sections. Finally, yes, I will email you about Zourabichvili later on this week and we can definitely correspond our projects.

    Again, as I said, your comments have generated a lot of enthusiasm in me, and I really appreciate your candor.

    Taylor Adkins

  11. Thank you all for your efforts in these translations!!! I am immensely grateful!!!! Is there anyone working on Simondon’s text right now?? I am doing my phd and have been struggling to get a hold of Simondon’s text, especially “On the Mode of the Existence of Technical Objects”… Is there a way for me to contact anyone directly? Thank you once again!!!

    all the best,

  12. The only translations I am aware of are from the Incorporations volume published by Zone in the 80s, and the recent volume Interact or Die! with Alberto Toscano’s translation on technical culture. I have both, and I can send them to you by email if you want. Other than that, I do have On the Mode of Existence of Technical Objects, and it will take some time to get work on that done. But I plan to be working on it in the coming weeks. Nick at accursed share said he has a small portion of a translation of this book, unpublished. He plans on photocopying it for scholarly use. I’m sure we could persuade him to send you a copy.

    Taylor Adkins

  13. Nick and I went to school together, and i have the same translation, which I exhumed from a lonely shelf in our Uni library up in canada this spring. it’s the whole first half of “on the mode of existence of technical objects”, chapters 1 +2.
    if he doesn’t come through with the scans, let me know. I need to try and figure out if my ghetto undergrad Uni has one of those coveted photocopy-scanner machines that make pdf’s right on the spot. that would be perfect.

  14. Pingback: Deleuze on Simondon and Individuation « Larval Subjects .

  15. Hi Taylor,

    Thanks for a great website. Fascinating work you’re doing here.

    I’m currently doing some work on Simondon and wondered if you had heard of any plans to translate The Individual and Its Physico-Biological Genesis; Psychic and Collective Individuation. I heard there was a translation underway somewhere and was interested if you might know more about it.



  16. Hello Simon,

    I regret my late reply to your comment. First of all, I have been approached by two different people to translate Simondon’s work. Jean-Hugues Barthelemy, who saw the website and the translations, mentioned the work I was doing to Samuel Weber who apparently is working with University of Minnesota Press. I talked to him in December, so it’s been a while. The other person interested in it was Sylvere Lotringer from Semiotext(e) in New York. Both of these publishers are renowned and high quality. The problem is, however, that these two publishers are both trying to get the rights (from PUF, I assume). If I hear anything substantial I will make a post about it.

    Thank you for your comments,

    Taylor Adkins

  17. Erich Hörl says

    I’m from Germany and professor of philosophy and technology of media at Ruhr-University Bochum. Great job – especially the translation of Simondon! I would definitely need an English translation of Simondons “Du mode d’existence…”, especially of the “conclusion”, where he writes on work and technics. I want to discuss this chapter with my students (in a course on “Work and Technics”) and it is not possible to use the French text, because I’m the only one in the group, who reads French. That’s really a pitty, because the text is so important for the whole issue. Did you already translate this part of the book?
    Good luck for your work,
    Erich Hörl

  18. Hi, this site is fantastic, just wanted to say thanks for all the work on these translations! My vote is for more translations of all the Spinoza commentators (btw, Sue Ruddick at the Univ of Toronto is apparently working on a full translation of Macherey’s Hegel ou Spinoza, according to her webpage). Also for Isabelle Stengers’s untranslated stuff (is anyone translating Cosmopolitiques?).
    all best

  19. Hi all

    Great site!!! I am nearly finished Hegel ou Spinoza [a few weeks away] — am talking to a publisher so won’t post it, but I have translated some of the untranslated lectures of Deleuze and a great one by Frederic Gros which might be of interest — has anyone tried to contact the people at webdelezue? or do they prefer translations in house?

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