Recategorizing Walter Benjamin as Non-deconstructivist: A Comparison of Aspects of Jacques Derrida’s and Benjamin’s Views on Translation

Document Type : Original Article


Foreign Studies College, Hunan Normal University, Changsha, China


According to traditional Western views on translation, conveying the meaning is the first aim. In Benjamin’s eyes, this is an acceptance of the “non-identity of languages”, harming linguistic development. With his understanding, Benjamin challenged ideas viewing language as a tool. For this challenge, he has been regarded by many scholars as a forerunner, re­bel­ling against Western logocentrism. He also contributed to the de­velop­ment of translation studies, e.g., with his concept of a “pure language”. Another dominant figure of deconstructivism is Derrida, who also chal­lenged logocentrism. He has created many concepts like “la difference”, dis­semination, trance etc., which serve not only linguistics and philoso­phy, but also translation studies. In the history of Western translation, Benjamin has often been classified as a member of deconstructivism, even being compared with Derrida in re­gard to their deconstructive architectural concept of “absence” (Mac­Ar­thur 1993). However, Benjamin’s understanding of translation differs from Derrida’s. This paper compares their comprehension of translation main­ly regarding the aspects of “pure language” and “la différence”, me­ta­phrase and relevant translations, “afterlife” and “rebirth” of the original. Their attitudes towards the five dimensions original work, author, trans­la­tor, translation work and translation criterion respectively are explored. It is concluded that Benjamin does not belong to deconstructivism.


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  • عنوان
Volume 1, Issue 4 - Serial Number 4
ISBN 9783899664812
April 2022
Pages 1-13
  • Receive Date: 07 October 2021
  • Revise Date: 16 October 2021
  • Accept Date: 22 November 2021