Dissertation submitted for the degree of Master of Arts in Translation at the University of the West of England, Bristol

For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework

May 2008

“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework”

Abstract
The purpose of this dissertation is to address a proposed Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ most famous fiction work Naked Lunch into French. A comprehensive literature survey of the genesis of the Cyberpunk genre and of its links with William Burroughs’ works was conducted. Assessed from within a memetic framework, methods to proceed to a modernized translation of this text using Popovic’s generic shifts have been explored. These methods were then put into practice in a translation to French of a chapter of Naked Lunch which underwent, in the process, a generic shift toward the Cyberpunk genre. The implementation of this shift was detailed in a subsequent commentary which, in a few given examples, also proceeds to compare the new text with Eric Kahane’s translation. The dissertation ends with an evaluation of the extent to which this cyberpunk retranslation is a translation or an adaptation of the original work.

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“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework”

List of contents
ABSTRACT................................................................................................................................................... 2 LIST OF CONTENTS ................................................................................................................................. 3 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ........................................................................................................................ 5 CHAPTER I : CYBERPUNK LITERATURE AND WILLIAM BURROUGHS ............................. 6 A) CYBERPUNK IN THE HISTORICAL FRAME OF SCIENCE FICTION AND POSTMODERN LITERATURE ....... 6 B) CHARACTERIZING FEATURES OF CYBERPUNK LITERATURE AND THE INFLUENCE OF WILLIAM BURROUGHS’ S WORKS ..............................................................................................................................10 Superspecificity and the preeminence of surface .............................................................................. 12 Movement, cutting-up and cybernetic texts .......................................................................................13 Cybernetic bodies and posthumanity ................................................................................................. 14 Dystopian worlds and the “punk” fight against control forces .......................................................17 CHAPTER II: RETRANSLATION AS MEMETIC MUTATION USING POPOVIC’S GENERIC SHIFT....................................................................................................................................... 20 A) TRANSLATION AS A MEMETIC ACTIVITY.............................................................................................20 B) MEDIATING TIME, DISTANCE AND LANGUAGE ...................................................................................21 C) BETRAYAL OF THE AUTHOR’S INTENT? ..............................................................................................22 D) TRANSLATION AND CREATIVITY ......................................................................................................... 23 E) POPOVIC’S EXPRESSION SHIFTS ........................................................................................................... 25 CHAPTER III: TEXT TYPOLOGY....................................................................................................... 27 A) INTRODUCTION TO “NAKED LUNCH” ................................................................................................. 27 B) TEXTUAL FEATURES OF THE BLACK MEAT........................................................................................28 1. The explicit reality...........................................................................................................................29 2. Distorted reality: the fantasy behind..............................................................................................30 3. Textual distortion and cohesive patterns .......................................................................................31 C) TRANSLATION METHOD .......................................................................................................................33 CHAPTER IV: TRANSLATION AND COMMENTARY OF THE BLACK MEAT....................34 LA CHAIR NOIRE ........................................................................................................................................ 34 COMMENTARY .......................................................................................................................................... 37 Preliminary comments on a puzzling network of drug deals............................................................37

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“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework”
Generic shifts: strengthening of the Cyberpunk atmosphere through semantic field injection (technology, drugs)..............................................................................................................................38 Strengthening of cohesion ...................................................................................................................41 Cultural transposition of period slang (individual shifts) ................................................................41 Other / artistic license:........................................................................................................................41 CHAPTER V: CONCLUSION ................................................................................................................43 BIBLIOGRAPHY....................................................................................................................................... 46 APPENDICES ............................................................................................................................................. 54 THE BLACK MEAT (UNKNOWN EDITION)................................................................................................. 55 LA VIANDE NOIRE (ORIGINAL TRANSLATION BY ERIC KAHANE, 1964) .................................................58

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“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework”

Acknowledgements
The author would like to thank Kate Beeching for her tutoring and her precious comments. I also thank Annie Lewis for her reviewing of our translation and invaluable advices on translation strategies.

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“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework”

Chapter I : Cyberpunk literature and William Burroughs
“Jesus […] what kinda creep joint you running here?” (Burroughs 2001a [1959]: 99; Gibson 1984: 10)

A) Cyberpunk in the historical frame of science fiction and postmodern literature
Thomas defines Cyberpunk as a genre of science fiction literature that deals with first generation cyborg or machine/human symbiotic activity in an immanent post-industrial informationgoverned universe. (Thomas 2000: 175) Hollinger evokes a “movement” in 1980s SF exploring “the technological ramifications of experience within late capitalist, postindustrial, media-saturated Western society” (Hollinger 1991: 204). For the Cyberpunk writer Bruce Sterling (1991: 343), “Cyberpunk is a product of the 1980s milieu (…). But its roots are deeply sunk in the sixty-year tradition of modern popular SF”. This literary movement is indeed to be understood as an evolution and convergence of prior literary traditions. For Slusser (1991: 337), “the road to Sawyer to Swift to cyberpunk is essentially the road to science fiction”. More precisely, Cyberpunk is described as the result of “the process of science fiction’s legitimation” (McHale 1991: 308) through its blending with postmodern mainstream literature. When looking at the earliest phases of SF history, however, it takes a real stretch of mind to imagine that SF and mainstream literature ever were to combine together some day. In these times, as Csicser-Ronay Jr. notes, the so-called “expansive” forms of SF “reflected the optimistic and secure ideology of scientistic humanism”, used to favour themes like “heroic

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“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework” planetary exploration, space travel without boredom, the dignity of aliens, small groups of harmonious researchers”. From a stylistic point of view, SF novels were traditionally written in a “lucid, utilitarian prose emphasizing the no-nonsense attitudes of adventurer-scientists in command and control” (Csicsery-Ronay Jr. 1991: 186). Thus, as noted by McHales, “from the 1920s through the 1940s, SF and mainstream fiction existed in mutual isolation from one another, mutually incommunicado” (McHale 1991: 313). From the beginning of the 1950s, though, science fiction writers gradually “began to abandon the conventions of expansionist SF” (Csicsery-Ronay Jr. 1991: 186) and, as put by McHale, the first “interspecies contact” occurred when writers like “Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke, Sturgeon, Bester” proceeded to the “leveling up” of SF and modeled their prose style and narrative structures “on those of bestseller fiction while a few mainstream bestsellers in turn adopted typical SF motifs, themes, and materials” (McHale 1991: 313). From then onwards, Csicsery-Ronay Jr. observes, “most writers who used science as a metaphor in their work dwelt on its inherent paradoxes, its reverses, its self-defeating assumptions” (Csicsery-Ronay Jr. 1991: 187). Quite logically, the shift from humanism to post-humanism was underway in a prose that depicted “the destruction of liberal ideology by autonomous technology” (CsicseryRonay Jr. 1991: 187). For McHale, this interaction between SF and advanced or state-of-the-art mainstream fiction became tighter “in the 1960s and early 1970s, with New Wave SF and the first wave of postmodernist mainstream fiction” (McHale 1991: 313). Csicsery-Ronay Jr. too points to the decisive influence of the New Wave, also mentioning writers like “Philip K. Dick, J. G. Ballard” as well as “the 1960s fascination with hallucinogens and altered states of consciousness” (Csicsery-Ronay Jr. 1991: 190). While SF was outgrowing scientific positivism through contact with postmodernist mainstream fiction, a reciprocal mutation was in process and, as described by Hollinger, “postmodernist texts which rely heavily on SF iconography and themes have proliferated since the 1960s” (Hollinger 1991: 204). The symbiosis between these two mutating styles lasted and “in the course of the 1970s […] SF and postmodernist mainstream fiction really (became) one another’s contemporaries” (McHale 1991: 314). Prolonging itself into the 1980s, this phase of interaction started a feedback loop operating between SF and postmodernist fiction. This feedback loop, which made the birth of Cyberpunk possible is thus described by McHale:

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“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework” we find postmodernist texts absorbing materials from already ‘postmodernized’ SF, and SF texts incorporating models drawn from already ‘science fictionized’ postmodernism (McHale 1991: 314) The “conflictual framework of realist literary conventions played out in the postmodernist field” described by Hollinger (1991: 204) had come to maturity and, according to McHale, “it is this latest phase of the interaction that, on, the SF end of the feedback loop, has acquired the label of ‘cyberpunk’” (McHale 1991: 315). The blending of science fiction and mainstream postmodern literature came to fruition in 1984 with the publication of William Gibson’s Neuromancer. Neuromancer, as Brown recalls, snuck onto the racks without fanfare. But its hyperdense, eloquent, and uncompromising transformations of the social indicators of the mid-eighties found its own audience. People began buying the book, and passing it on to their friends. It became that rarest of phenomena, a true word-of-mouth hit. (Brown 1991: 176) As McCaffery puts it, Neuromancer eventually “burst onto the science fiction scene like a supernova” (McCaffery 1991: 263). Shortly thereafter, Brown remembers, the science fiction writer and critic Gardner Dozois wrote an essay in the 30 December 1984 edition of The Washington Post “in which he labeled Gibson, Shirley, Sterling, Shiner [and others] as ‘cyberpunks’” (Brown 1991: 176). The term cyberpunk was however first used in a Bruce Bethke short story - about a group of teenage hackers - called Cyberpunk and published in the November 1983 issue of Amazing Stories (Cahill, Bethke 1983). While Bethke acknowledges the coining of the word itself as well as the creation of archetypal cyberpunk figures such as “the punk hacker with a mohawk”, he expressly denies having invented Cyberpunk fiction itself, which he says was invented by “William Gibson, whose 1984 novel, Neuromancer, was the real defining work" (Bethke 1997). There is indeed a general consensus amongst writers and scholars to define Neuromancer as the seminal cyberpunk text. The “c-p limit-text” for Hollinger (1991: 205), it has, according to Hayles (1999: 36), “sparked the Cyberpunk movement”. For Lee and Lam (1998: 971), the term “Cyberpunk” is actually “employed to indicate a genre of science-fiction novels in the mould of William Gibson’s 1984 science-fiction novel Neuromancer”. Csicsery-Ronay Jr.
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“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework” goes as far as saying that “most of the literary cyberpunks bask in the light of […] William Gibson” (Csicsery-Ronay Jr. 1991: 185). Quite clearly, the expansionist era of planetary explorations is long dead and, as Slusser notes, “science fiction, as fiction of the future, has entered the museum” (Slusser 1991: 339). Since Gibson, as Csicsery-Ronay Jr. puts is, the “SF of implosion dominates everywhere” (Csicsery-Ronay Jr. 1991: 187). Beyond the cross-feeding of two literary traditions mentioned earlier, Cyberpunk is for Hollinger (1991: 216) “the product of a multiplicity of influences from both within and outside of genre SF”. McCaffery (1991: 263-264) mentions the “1940s film noir” as well as “the garishly intense, nightmarish urban scenes and pacings in the work of rock musicians like Lou Reed”. Csicsery-Ronay Jr. (1991: 188) evokes “the literature of horror, especial1y the splash-and-splatter films of the 1970s and 1980s”. For Brown, the cyberpunks (…) picked up bits and pieces of what was actually coming true, and fed it back to the readers who were already living in Gibson's Sprawl, whether they knew it or not. (Brown 1991: 175) William Gibson himself does not seem to fully acknowledge Cyberpunk as a literary current per se and, in an interview with Larry McCaffrey, labeled the label as “mainly a marketing strategy” that “trivializes” his own work (McCaffrey 1991: 279). Puzzled by the claims made by the prominent Cyberpunk writer Bruce Sterling that “Cyberpunk is the literary incarnation [of the 1980’s integration of] the realm of high tech, and the modern pop underground” (Sterling 1991: 345), Csicsery-Ronay Jr. actually hints that the label might just as well be “a direction within the popular science fiction industry”, that is, “an intraprofessional label” (Csicsery-Ronay Jr. 1991: 183). For Hollinger, indeed, it could be argued that this self-proclaimed movement was nothing more than the discursive construction of the collective imaginations of SF writers and critics eager for something/anything new in what had become a very conservative and quite predictable field (Hollinger 1991: 216) While it is clearly beyond the scope of this research work to give a definitive answer about the significance of the Cyberpunk label in the postmodern era, we will try to determine the
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“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework” main features that characterize it and link them with the works of another seminal author, William S. Burroughs, mostly known “as the writer whose book Naked Lunch […] challenged the conservative mores of post-war America” (Wood 1996: 11).

B) Characterizing features of Cyberpunk literature and the influence of William Burroughs’s works
For Hollinger (1991: 204), Cyberpunk is “more or less conventional on the level of narrative technique” in the sense that its literary approach is very much inspired by the two aforementioned literary traditions (science fiction and postmodernist literature). McCaffery indeed points at “Gibson’s affinities with earlier innovative SF authors” (Mc Caffery 1991: 263-264), but also with sources wholly outside SF. Cyberpunk writing can therefore be defined as a mix of traditional and avant-garde. In his analyze of the Cyberpunk movement, Csicsery-Ronay Jr., quoting the feminist writer Zoe Sofia, mentions “the collapse of the future onto the present” (Sofia 1984: 59 in Csicsery-Ronay Jr. 1991: 186). This major feature of Cyberpunk literature is embodied in Gibson’s works and his heirs by the mix of contemporary pop culture with prospective technology: “cyber-punk”. In The Adding Machine, William Burroughs illustrated this implosion of time with the endless possibilities offered by cyberspace: you can lay Cleopatra, Helen of Troy, Isis, Madame Pompadour, or Aphrodite. You can get fucked by Pan, Jesus Christ, Apollo or the Devil himself. Anything you like, likes you when you press the buttons. (Burroughs 1985: 86 in Plant 2000: 466) Burroughs is indeed one of these avant-garde writers who have had a major influence on the Cyberpunk genre. According to McHale, the non-SF writers most frequently named by Cyberpunk writers asked about the source of their inspiration are “Burroughs and Pynchon, state-of-the-art mainstream writers heavily indebted to earlier forms of SF for themes, motifs, and materials” (McHale 1991: 315). For Hollinger (1991: 216), Cyberpunk writers “readily acknowledge the powerful influence of […] postmodernists like William Burroughs and Thomas Pynchon”. There is also a general consensus amongst scholars concerning the influential role of Burroughs on Cyberpunk literature. As Wood reminds us, “the work of William S. Burroughs has often been credited as a primary influence on cyberpunk writing”

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“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework” (Wood 1996: 11). For Slusser (1991:337), “Burroughs and Pynchon as well as Dick and Delany are all part” of the flow, mentioned earlier, “from Sawyer to Swift to Cyberpunk”. Porush, too, considers William Burroughs as an “early cyberpunker” (Porush 1991: 331). For Harris (1999: 243), Burroughs “has acted as godfather for literary countercultures from the Beats to the Cyberpunks”. For the Beat icon and LSD advocate Timothy Leary, quoted by Slusser, Cyberpunk can be traced back to “mainstream yet marginal” writers such as “Burroughs, Pynchon – who were doing all along what SF should have been doing had SF taken proper responsibility for its socioanalytical potential” (Leary in Slusser 1991: 335). According to Suvin (1991: 359), “Gibson […] latches onto some great precursors on the margin of SF and ‘high lit,’ such as […] William Burroughs”. Silverberg as well points towards Burroughs’ “visionary texts […]which presage Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner and William Gibson’s Neuromancer” (Silverberg 1998: xii). And according to Saffo (1989), “Gibson calls up the gritty decadence evoked in (…) the William Burroughs novel, ‘Naked Lunch’”. Saffo suggests that “alleged similarities between that novel and ‘Neuromancer’ have triggered rumors that Gibson plagiarized Burroughs” (Saffo 1989). While these rumors are themselves undocumented by Saffo, intertextuality between Burroughs and Gibson is indeed significant: - Similar expressions, sometimes word-for-word: “Jesus (…) what kinda creep joint you running here?” (Burroughs 2001a [1959]: 99, 105; Gibson 1984: 10), “one little whoops and a push” (Burroughs 2001a [1959]: 44, Gibson 1996), “if god made anything better, he kept it for himself” (Burroughs 1963: 193; Gibson 1984: 132). - Very similar descriptions: compare “Willy has a round, disk mouth lined with sensitive, erectile black hairs. He is blind from shooting in the eyeball” (Burroughs 1963: 7), “The Reptile had a little, round disk mouth of brown gristle” (Burroughs 1963: 47), “a lamphrey disk mouth of cold, grey gristle lined with hollow, black, erectile teeth” (Burroughs 1963: 172) with “It was eyeless, the skin gleaming a wet intestinal pink. The mouth, if it was a mouth, was circular, conical, shallow, and lined with a seething growth of hairs or bristles” (Gibson 1984: 114); compare as well “A black mist poured out and hung in the air like boiling fur” (Burroughs 1963: 45) with “Black fur boiled at the borders of his vision” (Gibson 1984: 195)). This “intertextuality”, which would require a rigorous comparative analysis to be correctly assessed, is not the only way Gibson took inspiration from Burroughs and, in what Wood has called “perhaps the best tribute to Burroughs’s work”, the writer of Neuromancer “casts Burroughs’s voice, personality and wisdom as McCoy Pauley, the Dixie Flatline” (Wood

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“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework” 1996: 21), a dead computer hacker whose mind was backed up in a “ROM construct” and who guides the hero, Case, in cyberspace. In an interview with McCaffery, Gibson acknowledges his debt to Burroughs and the great inspiration source the writer of Naked Lunch was for him: I’m of the first generation of American SF authors who had the chance to read Burroughs when we were fourteen or fifteen years old. I know having had that opportunity made a big difference in my outlook on what SF – or any literature, for that matter – could be. What Burroughs was doing with plot and language and the SF motifs I saw in other writers was literally mind expanding. I saw this crazy outlaw character who seemed to have picked up SF and gone after society with it, the way some old guy might grab a rusty beer opener and start waving it around. Once you’ve had that experience, you're not quite the same. (McCaffery 1991: 278) Cyberpunk literature owes a great deal to William Burroughs’s works and a lot of features that are now assumed to be characteristic of this genre are indeed already present in his novels. Superspecificity and the preeminence of surface According to Slusser, Cyberpunk, as “a bric-a-brac mosaic of Burroughs and Pynchon, but also of beat new journalism and of underground comics”, is “all surface”. (Slusser 1991: 337). This consideration on Cyberpunk writing is shared among the genre writers themselves. For Sterling, “Cyberpunk is widely known for its telling use of detail” (Sterling 1991: 348). In an interview with McCaffery, Gibson presented this “idea of superspecificity” as a characteristic feature of his work and a clean break from the description techniques in classical science fiction. According to him, “SF authors tend to use generics […] – a refusal to specify that is almost an unspoken tradition in SF”. (Gibson in McCaffery 1991: 269) For Slusser, Cyberpunk is to traditional narrative: what “MTV is to the feature film[:] a matrix of images […] no longer capable of connecting” to achieve representation “of mythos or story” (Slusser 1991: 334). For Hollinger (1991: 212), the cyberpunk landscape “is overdetemined by a proliferation of surface detail which emphasizes the ‘outside’ over the ‘inside’”. Csicsery-Ronay Jr. characterizes the formative universe of Cyberpunk as one “where the real and the true are superseded by simulacra and the hyperreal” (Csicsery-Ronay Jr. 1991: 193). McCaffery labels Neuromancer’s world as “intensely vivid, full of colorful

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“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework” details and exotic lingoes that somehow seem realistic and totally artificial” (McCaffery 1991: 269). More generally, he describes Cyberpunk as fascinated with the surfaces and textures of daily life not because it is intellectually or aesthetically ‘shallow,’ but because of its recognition that artists, like ordinary citizens, can no longer overlook the heterogeneous surface activities of everyday life – these too are real and need to be dealt with on their own terms, just as the computer and cybernetic technologies currently invading and manipulating our lives are real and need to be explored and appropriated. (McCaffery 1991: 306-307) As demonstrated in the text typology provided in Chapter III, this attention to surface details (with lengthy detailed descriptions ands a particular focus on colours) is also a characteristic feature of William Burroughs’s Naked Lunch. Movement, cutting-up and cybernetic texts The “glitterspace” evoked by Slusser (1991: 334) in his analyse of Cyberpunk style is less understood as a smooth tracking shot than as a random series of quick, nervous zooms or snapshots, and another characteristic feature of Cyberpunk texts is, according to CsicseryRonay Jr., their natural propensity for movement “in plot, in theme, in style, and in syntax” (Csicsery-Ronay Jr. 1991: 192). For Slusser (1991:340), “if a sense of the old, sustained narrative form, remains [in Cyberpunk], it is as something ultracondensed and intensified”. Beyond an absence of continuity, this sequencing is indeed based on deliberate contrasts. For McHale, Gibson’s fiction functions at every level, even down to the ‘micro’ structures of phrases and neologisms, on the principle of incongruous juxtapositions – juxtapositions of American culture with Japanese culture, of high technology with the subcultures of the ‘street’ and the underworld, and so on. The term ‘cyberpunk’ has been constructed according to this incongruity principle. (McHale 1991: 309-310) Burroughs, Wood recalls, is “one of William Gibson’s principal sources, and the Burroughs’ fold-in method is a part of the history of cyberspace” (Wood 1996: 11). McCaffery too notes the importance, for cyberpunk artists, of Burroughs’s reliance on “cutup and fold-in methods, his efforts to deconstruct and then reassemble the codes and imagery of popular culture” (McCaffery 1991: 306) and his “quickfire stream of dissociated images” (McCaffery 1991:

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“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework” 264). As Brooks reminds, Cyberpunk is indeed characterized by a “strong […]notion of editing reality” (Brooks 1991: 241). According to an interview given to Kramer in 1978, Burroughs decided “to apply the montage method to writing” upon “the suggestion of his friend, Brion Gysin, a painter”, who had said that “writing was 50 years behind painting” (Kramer 1981: 96). In this interview, Burroughs stated that the use of the cut-up, fold-in method was actually closer to the facts of perception than would, say, a sequential narrative. For example, you walk down the street. You see it and you put it on canvas. That's what they did first. But that's not how you really see it or remember it. It's more jumbled. There are the street signs and the vendors and the houses and people walking. You don't see them like a photograph. You look at diverse images. Painting it that way is montage. I merely applied it to writing. (quoted by Kramer 1981: 96) For Slusser (1991: 334), this “optical prose” is a proof that the printed word has given up to “the fragmenting speed […] of the visual image”. Cut-up and fold-in techniques are also reminiscent of a mechanical process. William Burroughs used to consider himself as “the recording machine of his own consciousness” (Burrough 2001 [1953]: 184). John Shirley has described cyberpunk writing as “a video process” and “a mirror you can edit” (Shirley in Brooks 1991: 241). For Bukatman (2000: 152), “William Burroughs's cut-ups [are] automatic […] indicative of […] their own cybernetic origins. (Bukatman 2000: 152). As for Porush (1985: x), “cybernetic fiction is a means for the author to present himself or his literature as a soft machine, a cybernaut-like hybrid device”. And in her analyse of virtual bodies in Burroughs’s works, Hayles notices that his narrative “metamorphizes nearly as often as bodies within it, suggesting by its cut-up method a textual corpus that is as artificial, heterogeneous, and cybernetic as they are” (Hayles 1999: 42). Cybernetic bodies and posthumanity This cybernetic hybridization of text and machine are part of the postmodernist implosion witnessed in Burroughs’s works and in subsequent Cyberpunk literature. This implosion is indeed not only one of time, as noticed earlier on, but also of categories. As Escobar puts it: what is happening is a blurring and implosion of categories at various levels, particularly […] the natural, the organic, the technical and the textual. […] ‘Bodies’, ‘organisms’ and ‘communities’ thus have to be retheorized as composed of elements

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“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework” that originate in three different domains: the organic, the technical (or technoeconomic), and the textual […]. The boundaries between these three domains are quite permeable, producing always assemblages or mixtures of machine, body and text: while nature, bodies and organisms certainly have an organic basis, they are increasingly produced in conjunction with machines, and this production is always mediated by scientific narratives […] and by culture in general. (Escobar 2000: 62) This analysis is shared by Robins, who asserts that the classical boundaries “between human and machine, self and other, body and mind, hallucination and reality – are dissolved and deconstructed” (Robins 2000: 81). According to Haraway, this hybridization of categories and identities is a clear cut from the many dualisms consecrated by Western humanism (Haraway 1991: 177). One such dualism under severe attack in Cyberpunk lore is that of human versus machine. “For the cyberpunks”, Sterling notes, “technology is visceral […] pervasive, utterly intimate. Not outside us, but next to us. Under our skin; often, in our minds” (Sterling 1991: 346). According to Stone (2000: 505), “the flux of information that passes back and forth across the vanishing divide between nature and technology has become extremely dense”. For Cavallaro, this relation between the body and technology is “one of cyberpunk’s pivotal preoccupations” (Cavallaro 2004: 287). Hollinger insists that this focus on the interactions between the human and the technological “is perhaps the central ‘generic’ feature of cyberpunk” (Hollinger 1991: 205). In that aspect too, Cyberpunk is the heir of William Burroughs’s works. As noted by Harris, beyond the cut-up and fold-in mechanical process pertaining to the genesis texts such as Naked Lunch, Burroughs has also showed “interest in the man–machine interface” (Harris 1999: 262) and contributed to the conflating of “biology with technology” (Harris 1999: 247). (More on the link between technologization of the body and control in next section: “Dystopian worlds and the “punk” fight against control forces”) For Bell, the increasing technologization of culture and the blurring of the boundaries between human and machine are a sign that humankind has entered “into the age of posthumanism” (Bell 2000a: 3). Both Burroughs’s and cyberpunk’s works can indeed be characterized by their focus on posthumanism, which Terranova (2000: 268) defines as “the belief in artificially enhanced evolution”. Burroughs, Hume reminds, was

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“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework” persuaded that our genes, aided by our most radical imaginings, will develop us in directions we cannot now picture if we can only get past whatever obstacle it is that has blocked our development. (Hume 1999: 119) In Naked Lunch, Burroughs (2001 [1953]: 136) has populated his “Interzone” with a variety of post-human sects: “Liquefactionists”, who aggressively submit their victims to “protein cleavage and reduction to liquid which is absorbed into” their own “protoplasmic being” (Burroughs 2001a [1959]: 69); “Senders”, who practice “one-way telepathic broadcast” (Burroughs 2001a [1959]: 137); “Divisionists”, who “cut off tiny bits of their flesh and grow exact replicas of themselves in embryo jelly” (Burroughs 2001a [1959]: 137); and Factualists, who are “Anti-Liquefactionists, Anti-Divisionists and, above all, Anti-Senders” (Burroughs 2001a [1959]: 140). Bruce Sterling, Terranova asserts, “made a significant contribution to the propagation of a new, wired variety of ‘post-humanism’” (Terranova 2000: 269). In his “Shaper and Mechanist” cycle of novels and short stories - most of which are compiled in Schismatrix Plus (Sterling 1996 [1982, 1983, 1984, 1985]) - he has been foreseeing the evolution of humankind into “Shapers” and “Mechanists”, that Maddox defines as “the primary posthumanist modes of being-binary opposites in the dialectic of mankind’s fate” (Maddox 1991: 325). The Shapers (…) had seized control of their own genetics, abandoning mankind in a burst of artificial evolution. Their rivals, the Mechanists, had replaced flesh with advanced prosthetics. (Sterling 1996: 304) Embodied in archetypal figures such as the street samurai, the razor girl or the hardwired hacker, this post-humanist concept of artificial body improvement has taken a central position in Cyberpunk fiction. As Hollinger points, human bodies in Gibson’s stories, and even more so in Sterling’s, are subjected to shaping and reshaping, the human form destined perhaps to become simply one available choice among many (Hollinger 1991: 210). This focus on post-human modes of existence expresses a major post-modern concern: the obsolescence of the body. For the Cyberpunk performance artist Stellarc,
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“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework”

it is time to question whether a bipedal, breathing body with binocular vision and a 1400cc brain is an adequate biological form. […] [It] is neither a very efficient nor a very durable structure. It malfunctions often and fatigues quickly; its performance is determined by its age. It is susceptible to disease and is doomed to a certain and early death. […] THE BODY IS OBSOLETE. We are at the end of philosophy and human physiology. Human thought recedes into the human past. (Stelarc 2000: 561-562) In Naked Lunch, more than fifty years before Stelarc, Burroughs was evoking very similar concerns through satire: the human body is scandalously inefficient. Instead of a mouth and an anus to get out of order why not have one all-purpose hole to eat and eliminate? We could seal up nose and mouth, fill in the stomach, make an air hole direct into the lungs where it should have been in the first place... (Burroughs 2001a [1959]: 110)

Dystopian worlds and the “punk” fight against control forces According to Kroker and Kroker, “the attitude that the body is a failed project takes us directly to a project driven by suicidal nihilism” (Kroker and Kroker 2000: 99). And indeed, the settings in which post-humanity is put into action by either Burroughs or the Cyberpunks all have in common a definite darkness. For Hume, “William Burroughs’s fictions abrade humanist sensibilities” (Hume 1999: 111). His narratives, she notes, mostly take place “in a partially destroyed world” (Hume 1999: 114). A recurrent location used in Burroughs’s works is the “Interzone”. Described by Harris (1999: 254) as “as a no-man’s land in excess of systematic classification” and regarded by Bukatman (2000: 152) as “the site of interface”, it is, according to Hume, “a sprawl pointing toward the urban settings found in later cyberpunk fiction.” (Hume 1999: 118-119). For her, the city depicted in Naked Lunch “embodies the gridded spaces ruled by Control society. Its visible denizens are Control's agents - the policeman, military officer, and politician.” (Hume 1999: 113) Similarly, for Benedikt, Gibson’s works are indeed characterized by “dystopic visions” dealing about “urban decay, […] neural implants, […] life of paranoia and pain” and “corporate hegemony” (Benedikt 2000: 29). According to Thomas (2000: 175), “Gibson’s works are highly suggestive dystopic visions” of

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an alternative post-industrial hybrid culture predicated on the interface of biotechnologically enhanced human bodies, interactive information technology and omniscient corporate power. (Thomas 2000: 175) Cyberpunk narratives indeed take place in worlds submitted to control forces depriving human beings of their freedom. According to Csicsery-Ronay Jr. (1991: 185), “cybernetics provides the pretext for the mechanized control of social life, of the body itself”. For Cavallaro, the “sprawling web of data is unremittingly ‘everywhere’ and by means of its very pervasiveness manages to ‘keep you a slave’” (Cavallaro 2004: 301). The hegemony of controlling forces is a common feature of both Burroughs’s and cyberpunk fictions. Hume (1999: 116) notes “Burroughs’s obsession with the evils of control”. For Harris (1999: 245), “the key subject of Burroughs’s work [is] control”. And this control is mostly achieved through technology. In Naked Lunch, a scientist thus describes the birth of the “Senders” posthuman faction: “The logical extension of encephalographic research is biocontrol; that is control of physical movement, mental processes, emotional reactions and apparent sensory impressions by means of bioelectric signals injected into the nervous system of the subject.” […] “Shortly after birth a surgeon could install connections in the brain. A miniature radio receiver could be plugged in and the subject controlled from State- controlled transmitters.” (Burroughs 2001a [1959]: 136) Burroughs is obviously concerned that humankind is already working on the technologies that will eventually enthrall it. Cyberpunk science fiction is based on the same premises. Grounded on the fascination of contemporary society for this tidal technologization of life, it postulates that civilization has unknowingly entered a new era in which the classical humanist values of liberty and free will have become obsolete. As Jameson proposes, the technology of contemporary society is […] mesmerizing and fascinating […] because it seems to offer some privileged representational shorthand for grasping [the] network of power and control […] [of] the whole new decentered global network of the third stage of capital itself (Jameson 1991: 226)
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Hayles suggests that “Burroughs anticipates [the aforementioned claim by Jameson] that an information society is the purest form of capitalism” (1999: 42). Indeed, as Douglas points, the “control machine” was, for Burroughs, “almost synonymous with the Western psyche” (Douglas 1998: xx). Ultimately, though, “Burroughs’s central technology of control” is, according to Harris (1999: 246) “language itself”, and his “understanding of language as a viral force identifies him as one of the major imaginative investigators of cybernetic communication systems” (Harris 1999: 247). Thus, in Naked Lunch, the power exercised through the epistolary medium by the sender against the receiver is instantly recognizable as Burroughs’s model for modern technologies of communication as methods of control, and the technofantasies of ‘biocontrol’ in The Naked Lunch are a technical updating of the diabolic principle that drives Burroughs’s epistolary machine: again, it is a quite literal and material sending that underwrites the ‘unqualified evil’ of the Senders in The Naked Lunch (Harris 1999: 266). Burroughs was seeing the act of writing as a self-replicating virus (Burroughs in Odier 1974: 13) and, as Wood reports, thought that it is responsible for “the growth of totalitarian control systems of all shapes and sizes” (Wood 1996: 13). According to Mc Caffery, though, Burroughs was not a passive spectator of the control forces at work in the informationcontrolled postmodern society, and his aim “was to use this engagement as a means of breaking down the power relationships that have been established by the culture over its constituent members” (McCaffery 1991: 306). In his opinion, “what Burroughs offered punk and cyberpunk artists was the example of a radicalized sensibility fully engaged with the surrounding culture” (McCaffery 1991: 306). For Wood (1996: 14), “Burroughs is attempting to direct us to the energy of continuous evolution, or mutation […] under siege by the insidious self-replication of language”. According to Douglas (1998: xx), “Burroughs believed that a counteroffensive might still be possible, that the enemy’s tactics can be […] used against him by information bandit like himself”. As a guide in the rebellion against the control forces, “he instructed readers in the art of deprogramming” (Douglas 1998: xx). As McCaffery reminds us, this he did through a “radical approach to form/content issues” epitomized by “discontinuous structuring devices” such as the aforementioned cutup and fold-in methods, “all aimed at furthering his assault on the ‘Reality Studio’ in an effort to regain control” (1991: 305-306).
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Chapter II: Retranslation as memetic mutation using Popovic’s generic shift
“Storm the reality studio and retake the universe” (Burroughs 1995 [1961]: 108)

A) Translation as a memetic activity
The theory of memetics sheds an interesting light on text translation. In his seminal work The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins defines the “meme” as “a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation” (Dawkins 1976: 206). For Chesterman (2000: 4), “translation is a memetic activity” in the sense that its object is the replication of texts as cultural units. Before Dawkins, Burroughs himself theorized on language and its viral properties: My general theory since 1971 has been that the Word is literally a virus, and that it has not been recognized as such because it has achieved a state of relatively stable symbiosis with its human host; that is to say, the Word Virus (the Other Half) has established itself so firmly as an accepted part of the human organism that it can now sneer at gangster viruses like smallpox and turn them in to the Pasteur Institute. But the Word clearly bears the single identifying feature of virus: it is an organism with no internal function other than to replicate itself. (Burroughs 1986: 47) Burroughs, Harris proposes, “dedicated himself to immortality by becoming […] a ‘meme’ […] which propagates analogously to the genetic code and the parasitism of viruses, and is more than metaphorically ‘alive’” (Harris 1999: 244). Translation of his texts is a way through which this memetic replication operates.

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B) Mediating time, distance and language
Translational activity occurs at the contact points of a source text, a translator, and a target readership, each of them influenced by their cultural context. Retranslating Naked Lunch today when more than half-a-century have passed since its writing adds time as a parameter in the translation equation. Beside the cultural gap between US and France, the passing of time and trends between the 1950’s and today has to be considered. As Jesenska points out, both the translator and the reader are children of their generation, which displays its own character in its manner of perception and expression. And the older the work we translate and the more distant the culture which produced it, the more crucial is the question of how to preserve the temporal and national features of the original and to make them accessible to the actual perception of the present-day reader (quoted by Popovic 1970:81) Popovic also notes that “the differences between the author and the translator are governed by the differing social and literary situations, the conventional designation for which is the taste of the day” (Popovic 1970: 79). Along the same lines, Julia Kristeva explains her concept of intertextuality as an intersection of textual surfaces rather than a point (a fixed meaning), as a dialogue among several writings: that of the writer, the addressee (or the character) and the contemporary or earlier cultural context (Kristeva 1986: 36) As Oser reminds, “reader or listener expectation obviously has a bearing on a translator’s strategy” (Osers 1995: 59). It is indeed necessary to adjust, during the translation process, the relation between two significant parameters defined by Nida as “the distinctive sociolinguistic features of the source text” and “the level or register of language that is appropriate for the intended audience” (Nida 1995: 134). According to the same author, “when a text represents certain distinctive forms of language, it may be important to provide in the receptor language something that is parallel” (Nida 1995: 135). For this reason, the retranslation has to take into account the current idiolects of the target language or run the risk of sounding precious or dated, hence losing the text’s original impact and making it unfit for survival in contemporary French readership. Care is therefore to be taken that Naked Lunch’s vivid prose and 1950’s

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“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework” junkie slang will be translated into images and a street talk that will appeal to contemporary readership. In this work, it is taken for granted that, with all its poetic merits, Eric Kahane’s translation has inevitably become outdated. While the various idiolects used by Kahane in 1964 to translate Naked Lunch might have been adapted for the period’s socio-linguistic context, they have most probably become obsolete for French contemporary readership. A thorough evaluation of the extent to which this is actually the case or not however goes beyond the scope of this work (but the commented retranslation in Chapter IV provides some clarifications on this subject through a compared analysis of some translation strategies at work). Memetics, again, and Darwinism, provide enlightening insights on this aging process. Idiolects, Johansson claims, can be regarded as individual organisms reproducing “whenever somebody acquires a language”: The resulting idiolect of the language acquirer is the descendant of the idiolects that provided input, in the Darwinian sense of ‘descent with modification’ required for an evolutionary process — the ‘child’ idiolect is normally very similar to, but not identical with, the ‘parent’ idiolects. […] Language evolution, in this sense, can be seen as a process of natural selection between our individual idiolects, with the most fit idiolects contributing the most to the idiolects of the next generation of people. (Johansson 2004: 6-7)

C) Betrayal of the author’s intent?
As seen in Chapter I (in “Movement, cutting-up and cybernetic texts” and “Dystopian worlds and the ‘punk’ fight against control forces”), Burroughs, who identifies language as the main control technology besieging human freewill and its evolutionary momentum, is using discontinuous structuring devices in his narratives in an attempt to counter the control forces at work within language. In that sense, taking liberties with the text’s structure and cohesive patterns could potentially disrupt these devices and would, therefore, be a betrayal of the author’s agenda. According to Harris, however, “to exempt Burroughs from the terms of his own critique is to miss the whole point of his textual politics” (Harris 1999: 244). Harris thus suggests, first,

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“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework” that Burroughs’ attempt to strip his own text from its control force has failed, second, that his textual politics granting viral features to the Word apply to all texts including his. In Reiss’s typology of text types, this “control force” can be related to the dialogic language dimension characteristic of operative texts (Reiss 2000 [1971] in Munday 2001: 74). Therefore, Harris’ claim seconds Bakhtin’s position on dialogism which identifies writing as both subjectivity and communication (Bakhtin in Kristeva 1986 [1969]: 39). We suggest here that the so-called “cybernetic” cut-up and fold-in methods do not strip the text from its human-made nature as, ultimately, it is a human being which discriminates the “acceptable” or “aesthetic” text combinations and then proceeds to some rewriting in order to smooth the text. According to Ann Douglas, indeed, The cut-up method was not a refusal of authorship. The writer still selects the passages, whether from his own work, a newspaper, a novel by someone else, or a signed glimpsed out of a train window, which he then cuts-up and juxtaposes. You always know what you are doing, according to Burroughs. (Douglas 1998: xxiv) Hence, the cut-up writing process still endows the text with an irreducible dialogic nature. Indeed, according to Douglas (1998: xxv), Burroughs himself judged his attempt to root out language’s control power “a failure”. But whether Burroughs has failed or not in his attempt is of little relevance in our proposed Cyberpunk translation framework centred on a reader/translator/writer deciphering the codes of a text and rewriting these codes while introducing Cyberpunk connotations into it to create a new text that will be an optimized version of the old one.

D) Translation and creativity
According to Delisle (1988: 37), “the most distinctive trait of human translation is its creativity, for translation involves choices that are not determined by pre-set rules”. Osers actually questions whether there ever has been such as thing as translation norms and asserts that “practising translators are not […] aware of the existence of any translation norms but follow their own inclination, judgement, taste, or tact” (Osers 1995: 60). According to Mackenzie,

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“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework” in analysing the source text the translator is, in a sense, carrying on a dialogue with the author. The dialogical approach is applied to modern translation theory, for example, by Riitta Oittinen (1995), in her book Kääntäjän Karnevaali, where she discusses the relationship between translator and author. She sees the translator as empowered in the same way as the reader has been empowered in modern literary theory. Once the text is published it becomes the property of the reader, and the same applies to the translator. […] The translator need no longer stand in awe of the source text, but can laugh at it. The translator, now at last on an equal footing with the author, is no longer a slavish imitator, a mere mediator, or in the worst case a traitor to the author. The translator can criticise, question the authority of the source text […]. The translator can take on a new role - that of the court jester. (Mackenzie 1995: 203) As a postmodern mode of meme replication, Cyberpunk translation does not claim any humanist value. For Timothy Leary, “in the Information/communication civilization of the twenty-first century, creativity and mental excellence become the ethical norm” (Leary 1991: 246). The empowerment of the translator evoked by Riitta Oittinen (in Mackenzie 1995: 203) is seconded by Leary’s definition of the Cyberpunks as individuals who “use all available data input to think for themselves” (Leary 1991: 245). This is clearly a call for “innovative thinking on the part of the individual” (Leary 1991: 253) that we have decided to apply to the translation of Burroughs’ Naked Lunch. For Mackenzie, the translator who lacks self-confidence (…) will probably adhere closely to the words of the source text and fight shy of original solutions. Doubt and fear of making mistakes are the enemies of creativity. (Mackenzie 1995: 205) Because this empowerment of the translators no longer requires submission to norm or authority, and hence partly condones the expression of unsupported claims (has not CsicseryRonay Jr. (1991: 193) stated that “Cyberpunk is […] the apotheosis of bad faith”?), it is a way to deflect criticism from their personal assessment of a given translation as “outdated” or of their new translation as “more relevant”. Within such a framework, translation as memetic replication is partially freed from the yoke of “faithfulness” or “equivalence”:

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“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework” Because memetic replication (almost) always involves variation, we do not need to focus on the impossibility of preserving some kind of identity; instead, we can focus on the way texts change as they are translated, and examine the nature and motivation of such changes: this is a more realistic approach, and one that gives the translator more freedom of responsibility and more scope for creativity. (Chesterman 2000: 4)

E) Popovic’s expression shifts
Pym, however, considers that “invocations of creativity should not imply any wiping clean of ethical slates” and that “to the extent that translators are creative, they are also responsible and thus subject to moral judgement” (Pym 1995: 124). In order to account for the memetic mutations occurring during the translation process, we will appeal to Anton Popovic's theory of shifts of expression. Susan Bassnet sums up the five types of shifts distinguished by Popovic (1976) in his Dictionary for the Analysis of Literary Translation as follows: a. Constitutive shift, that takes place inevitably due to differences between the two languages systems. b. Generic shift, described as ‘a type of topical shift that implies a change in constitutive features of the text as a literary genre’. c. Individual shift, ‘a system of individual deviations motivated by the translator’s expressive propensities and his subjective idiolect’. d. Negative shift, where there has been a misunderstanding in the translation. e. Topical shift, where a difference in the topical facts between SL and TL versions is due to the use of different denotations. Popovic goes on to point out that this kind of shift can occur when connotation is favoured to the detriment of denotation. (Bassnet 2002: 143). The following is an assessment of each of this shift’s relevance within the frame or our cyberpunk retranslation strategy. Constitutive shifts inevitably occur and will not be accounted for in this work. “Modulations”, “transpositions”, “calques”, “supplementations”, etc. require the use of a theoretical framework closer to contrastive linguistics, such as the one developed by

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“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework” Vinay and Darbelnet (1977) in “Stylistique comparée du français et de l’anglais”, resulting in a comprehensive yet cumbersome analysis grid, even more so in the case of a “creative” translation. • Topical shifts are a very powerful tool inasmuch as they allow thorough rewording and modification of denotative meaning for the sake of connotation – i.e. in order to comply to the text’s general atmosphere. It appeals to the translator’s creativity to a great extent. • Generic shifts are obviously at the core of this work on cyberpunk retranslation. But while Popovic envisages them only as being a particular kind of topical shift, we argue that it is also possible, without altering the denotative meaning of a given translation unit, to render it with a different connotative meaning participating to the shift to another literary genre (cf. “Individual shifts” below). This “cyberpunk” retranslation of the “The Black Meat” Chapter from William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch is by its own nature a generic shift in itself inasmuch as, despite the inspiring character of Naked Lunch for Cyberpunk literature, a thorough change of connotative and sometimes denotative meanings is needed to set it fully in the Cyberpunk genre. • Individual shifts are part the mutation tools thanks to which the original text will acquire the linguistic features making the text acceptable by the new host. We suggest that the translation of an image by a different image is still an individual shift inasmuch as it refers to the same reality. Images as well as dialogues can undergo significant rewording through this process. In that sense, individual shifts participate to a renewed “domestication” of the text by a reader-writer member of the target readership (more on domestication in Venuti 1995). New connotative meanings may arise from this shift, which can therefore be said to participate to a generic shift if these new connotations participate to the transposition of the text into another genre.

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Chapter III: Text typology
“the Word is […] a virus” (Burroughs 1986: 47)

A) Introduction to “Naked Lunch”
The fruit of nine years of a painful and hazardous writing process, William Burroughs’ “Naked Lunch” was finalized in two weeks and came out in 1959. At the time quite controversial because of the topics it was dealing with (drugs, homosexuality), it was published by the French publishing house Olympia Press, who rushed the finalization of the script in order to surf on the publicity made by the censoring of excerpts in US publications. Thus, it first came out with numerous mistakes, misspelled words and repeated paragraphs. In 1963, it was published in the US by Grove Press, who could not agree with the author on the changes to be made. The French translation – made by Eric Kahane, the brother of Olympia Press’s owner Maurice Girodias –, and probably based on Grove Press’s edition, came out in 1964. “Naked Lunch – the restored text” was published in 2001 by Grove Press. This subtly edited version of the original text is the one used as a reference for this work. “Naked Lunch” is not a classical novel and was never intended as such by William Burroughs (2001b [1960]: 249), who stated in the preface of his work that he “do[es] not presume to impose ‘story’ ‘plot’ ‘continuity’” (Burroughs 2001a [1959]: 184). The cut-up method reflected Burroughs’ view of the world as an assemblage of random factors. For Hayes (1999: 42), Naked Lunch’s “narrative metamorphizes nearly as often as bodies within it, suggesting by its cut-up method a textual corpus that is as artificial, heterogeneous, and cybernetic as they are”. As a writer, Burroughs considered himself as the recording machine of his own consciousness (Burroughs 2001a [1959]: 184):

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“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework” You see the random factor in life every time you look out the window or walk down the street. Your consciousness is being continually cut by random factors. I try to make this explicit by taking words and cutting them up. (Burroughs in Kramer 1981) Assembled from material written over nine years and four continents, Naked Lunch was therefore not built upon a predetermined plan and underwent numerous rewritings (Miles and Grauerholz 2001: 233) whose object was not to smooth the text and follow expected patterns, but on the contrary to undermine these expectations. “William S. Burroughs’s fictions […] frustrate the impulse to seek meaning” notes Hume (1999: 111). According to Wood, who points at “the absolute dismembering of conventional narratives in Burroughs’ science fictional works” (Wood 1996: 12), Burroughs writes chaos to engender silence” (Wood 1996: 19). For Douglas, Burroughs saw language in the Western world as the “dead heart of the control machine” (Douglas 1998: xxiii). Therefore, [his] avant-garde experiments in montage, the cut-up, and disjunctive narratives were attempts to liberate Western consciousness from its own form of self-expression, from the language that we think we use but which, in truth, uses us. (Douglas 1998: xxiii) (for more on the link between language and control in Burroughs’s works, read Chapter I, “Dystopian worlds and the ‘punk’ fight against control forces”).

B) Textual features of The Black Meat
This carefully crafted chaos is created through the use of a small number of key linguistic features. A 1,218-word text (title not included), “The Black Meat” is written from the point of view of an omniscient narrator. The following text typology owes a great deal to the checklist of linguistic and stylistic categories described by Leech and Short (1981: 74-82). It is however structured around transversal themes covering multiple categories from the aforementioned checklist.

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“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework” 1. The explicit reality The vocabulary used in this mostly descriptive passage is relatively simple and belongs to a standard register. Dialogues are however characterized by the use of colloquial words or expressions (line 7: “I’d have myself a time”) and junkie slang (line 26: “on spec”). In accordance with its descriptive function, this piece of text draws heavily on vocabulary describing the protagonists of the action and their environment. The superspecificity mentioned in Chapter I (“Superspecificity and the preeminence of surface”) is indeed perfectly illustrated in these descriptions. The settings of this chapter are “the City” and most of its action takes place in cafés. A more than significant part of the text is about the description of this environment, from architectural features (“café”, “stone ramp”, “high white canyon of masonry”, “Plaza”, “streets”, “City”, “walls”, “cubicles”, “rooms”, “corridors”, “bridges”, “cat walks”, “maze”, “kitchens”, “restaurants”, “iron balconies”, “basements”) down to individual pieces of furniture or accessories (“shoe”, “cigarette”, “table”, “clothes”, “newspaper”, “pen”, “tube”, “gowns”, “rags”, “stools”, “straws”, “chairs”). Above all, however, it is the omnipresence of the body which is remarkable in this text (“eyes”, “finger”, “eye”, “elbow”, “veins”, “face”, “nerves”, “nails”, “hand”, “mouth”, “haunch”, “scars”, “bone”, “liver”, “beak”, “penis”, “cartilage”, “hair”, “skull”, “gristle”, “claws”) and the progressive shift – within this lexical field – from human to non-human (from “eyes” and “finger” to “beak” and “claws”). Drugs and drug dealing are also a central theme reflected in the text’s lexicon (“junky”, “veins”, “junk”, “hunger”, “deliver”, “advance”, “on spec”, “eggs”, “need”, “traffickers”, “Black Meat”, “addicts”, “clients”, “metabolism”). Drugs can be linked to the aforementioned shift from human to non-human, and the reading experience likened to the perception changes which occur during a drug-induced hallucination. As Csicsery-Ronay Jr. explains (1991: 192), and as Chapter I shows, drugs are also a central theme of cyberpunk literature. To a lesser extent, sexuality also participates in this sensual experience (“hustling”, “lust”, “predatory”, “excisors”, “naked”, “erect”, “penises”, “erectile”… but also “pen”, “hole”). For the world described by Burroughs is a sensual one, a world in which perception (“eyes”, “experience”, “seemed”, “listening down”, “case”, “periscope”, “registered”) and appeal to the six senses play a major role: - sight of eerie places and creatures. More than thirty direct (“grey”, “blue”, “green”, etc.) or indirect (“alabaster”, “amber”, etc.) colour qualifiers are used amongst which ten times the adjective “black”, which contributes to the dark and worrying atmosphere of this passage;

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“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework” - hearing of not less worrying sounds generally emitted by purportedly alive creatures (“dead, junkie whisper”, “laughed”, “bat squeak”, “silent”, “little tune”, “boiling fur”, “supersonic”, “screaming”, “scream”, “coughing”, “spitting”); - touch of an ambiguous nature, mixing sensuality and repulsion (“the Sailor […] put a finger on the boy’s inner arm”, “[the Sailor’s] thick, fibrous […] fingers”, “sucked”, “fuzz”, “suppurating scars”, “satin”, “razor-sharp”, “shreds”, “raw peeled”, “gristle”); - at best ambivalent, at worst downright sickening smells and tastes (“cigarette”, “effluvium of mold”, “musty smell of deserted locker rooms”, “syrup”, “sweet”, “rotten”, “the air is once again still and clear as glycerine”, “vomit”, “delicious”, “nauseating”, “sweet, sick smell”); - the Sailor’s ability to “pick up the silent frequency of junk” as a bonus sixth sense. Adding to the fantastic tones of the messages, sensorial perceptions are sometimes mixed and develop in synaesthesia (“cold eyes”, “black insect laughter”, “dry hunger”, “boiling fur”, “silent, pink explosion”). 2. Distorted reality: the fantasy behind The aforementioned shift in perception from human to non-human – which, as noted earlier, can be likened to hallucination – and the intensity of the sensual experience are reminiscent of the “exteriorization of images representing the breakdown of stable, standard-giving rational, perceptual, and conceptual categories” characteristic of cyberpunk literature and described by Csicsery-Ronay Jr (1991: 189-190), who considers that “Cyberpunk is part of a trend in science fiction dealing increasingly with madness, more precisely with the most philosophically interesting phenomenon of madness: hallucination”. Behind the first level reality of characters and their actions, indeed, another one emerges, sometimes openly, most often through comparisons, metaphors or connotative meanings: the non-human (insects, Mugwumps, Reptiles and Dream Police), an eerie marine world (“sailor”, “undersea”, “periscope”, “drifted”, “fish”, “diving bell”, “black depth”, “aquatic”, “brown lagoons”, “crustaceans”) and death and decay (“dead”, “cold”, “predatory”, “silent”, “mold”, “rotten”, “suppurating”, “bone”). It is this implied reality which has been the object of translation shifts in the endeavour to give a cyberpunk “flavour” to the retranslation. Numerous figures of speech are another device used by William Burroughs to evoke this “behind the scene” fantastic reality. Comparisons and metaphors abound: the laugh of the Sailor as “a bat’s squeak” (line 9), his face as “yellow wax” (line 11), “Fats” Terminal’s “periscope eyes” (line 14), “Faces of the City silent as fish” (line 18), “the lighted café was a diving bell” (line 19), the smell of the

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“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework” sailor’s clothes as “the musty smell of deserted locker rooms” (line 23), the “phosphorescent” stare of the Sailor (line 24) “as if he were studying a chart” (line 28), the Sailor’s face after his fix bearing the “burning yellow brand of junk searing the grey haunch of a million screaming junkies”. A method frequently adopted by Burroughs in order to convey his images is the abundant use of unusual collocations (“undersea eyes”, “phosphorescent intensity”, “catatonic youths”, “hebephrenic shorthand”, etc.) in order to strengthen the impact of the images he is trying to convey. The synaesthesias mentioned above (“dry hunger”, boiling fur”, etc.) are only one type of such marked collocations which indeed, as Baker noted, “are often used in fiction” for their potential to “create unusual images” (Baker 1992: 51). The contact point of these two levels of reality is more often than not the body and the expression of the underlying fantastic reality typically goes through either body distortions (“his face smoothed out like yellow wax”, “peeled nerves”, “the Sailor’s face dissolved”, “his mouth undulated forward […] disappeared in a silent, pink explosion”, “his face came back into focus…”, “faces heavily and crudely painted in bright colors over a strata of beatings, arabesques of broken, suppurating scars to the pearly bone”, “raw, peeled Dream Police”) or the emergence of alien bodies on the scene (Mugwumps, Reptiles…). As extensively developed in Chapter I (“Cybernetic bodies and posthumanity”), body modifications are also central themes in Cyberpunk literature. 3. Textual distortion and cohesive patterns The Naked Lunch (…) disconnects its routines from any anchoring subjectivity or interpersonal relations, and short-circuits narrative continuity and closure (Harris 1999: 255) Indeed, the cut-up technique disrupts the usual cohesive patterns over the novel as a whole. As Grauerholz reminds, “the book’s final sequence was mostly determined […] by the “random” order in which chapters had been finished and sent for typesetting” (Grauerholz 1998: 118). Thus, the character of the Sailor appears in one other chapter only (“Coke Bugs”) amongst the twenty-five that make up the novel itself, preface and forewords not included. Mugwumps do appear quite frequently in “Hassan’s rumpus room” but are otherwise only mentioned once in “The Market” and “The County Clerc”. A deeper survey would demonstrate that Naked Lunch is a long casting of characters occurring in no more than two or three chapters, often far apart. This might be interpreted a sign of weak cohesion.

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“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework” By contrast, whole pieces of text are repeated word-by-word from one chapter to another, such as parts of the market description (“Followers of obsolete unthinkable trades, doodling in Etruscan”) which can also be found in “The Market” (echoing along with the Mugwump). While anaphoric reference through repetition is a device commonly used to strengthen text cohesion within a given piece of text (Baker 1992: 183), the repetition of whole sentences is unusual. We can therefore definitely talk of a markedness of the cohesion patterns with respect to the structure of the novel as a whole. Each chapter of Naked Lunch is a more classical piece of writing and the cut-up fragmentation technique does not really apply within individual chapters, which seem to be the smallest fragments used by Burroughs. To a large extent, each chapter of Naked Lunch can therefore be considered as a “stand alone” piece of text. It is, however, noticeable that, within chapters themselves, and The Black Meat is no exception, there is a shift from strings of mostly fronted theme sentences with recurring anaphoric references (lines 33 to 40: “The Sailor…”, “A street boy”, “The Sailor…”, “He…”, “He…”, “He…”, “A black mist…”, “The Sailor”, “His mouth…”, “His face…”) to verbless enumerations (lines 45 to 59: “At all level criss-cross of bridges… sealed in translucent amber of dreams”). According to Firbas (in Baker 1992: 163), these enumerations can be considered as purely rhematic sentences inasmuch as they are context independent elements with a high degree of communicative dynamism. For Csicsery-Ronay Jr., these “huge amounts of new information” are also characterizing features of Cyberpunk literature (Csicsery-Ronay Jr. 1991: 192). A corollary of the absence of theme is the absence of relation between the sentences and the information they carry. As mentioned in chapter I (“Movement, cutting-up and cybernetic texts”), this fragmentation is a deliberate choice of the author, who endeavours to struggle against language as a controlling force. This alternation is a device used by Burroughs to differentiate a first level reality characterized by stability (cohesion ensured by fronted theme structure and anaphoric reference) – i.e. the narrative, the action, what the characters actually do – from a fantasy backdrop, a random background of chaotic images springing alongside purely rhematic sentences.

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“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework”

C) Translation method
The ST uses formal artifacts such as consistent lexical fields and a rich imagery in order to convey the author’s attitudes toward his “narration” and characters. As a piece of “creative composition”, the selected chapter is therefore, according to Reiss (2000 [1971] in Munday 2001: 73-75) an expressive text. Hence, its translation should “transmit the aesthetic and aesthetic form” of the ST (ibid). Accordingly with the translational frame defined in Chapter II, we will push this logic further and decide that it is not so much on the referential value of the images used that we will focus as on the stylistic device itself when translating these images and metaphors. Our approach will therefore be to preserve the artifacts themselves (an image for an image, a metaphor for a metaphor…), but adapt their content value to our own agenda (a cyberpunk retranslation). To reach this goal, we will play with this “second level reality”, mostly by using “Cyberpunk related” words or expression (technologies, science, biotechnology, cybernetics…) with a semantic range or polysemic features allowing the conservation of the referential meaning, thus introducing new semantic fields while preserving the content of the aforementioned “first level reality”. However, when this is not possible, we will sometimes also proceed to topical shifts (cf Chapter II), which, as Popovic points, can occur “when connotation is favoured to the detriment of denotation”. (Popovic 1976 in Bassnet 2002: 143). What is more, in accordance with the theoretical framework on the translator’s creativity defined in Chapter II we will feel free to strengthen the cohesion of the text through the introduction of new semantic fields. Finally, in order to preserve the impact of the dialogues, which in the ST (but not in Kahane’s translation as read by a contemporary reader) conform to the usage of popular language favoured by cyberpunk writers, we will use the register of contemporary French drug users.

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“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework”

Chapter IV: Translation and commentary of The Black Meat
La chair noire
« T’es mon pote, hein ? » Arborant son sourire aguicheur, le petit cireur de chaussures leva les yeux vers le Marin et s’abîma dans le froid ressac d’un regard mort. Un regard dans lequel ne se lisait ni chaleur, ni désir, ni haine, ni aucune émotion qu’il lui ait jamais été donné de ressentir ou observer. Un regard froid et intense, prédateur et mécanique. Le Marin se pencha en avant et posa un doigt calleux au creux du bras de l’enfant. « Gamin, avec des veines comme ça je m’éclaterais comme une bête… » lança-t-il dans un souffle sans vie. Et sa voix d’exploser en un malfaisant rire androïde, obscure séquence sonore aux stridentes allures de sonar. Le Marin rit trois fois, puis se figea, aiguisant ses sens autour d’un fil ténu sur lequel il se cala méticuleusement. Il avait trouvé le signal plat de la fréquence came. Des remous liquides animèrent la surface jaunâtre de son visage anguleux. Il alluma une clope pour patienter, en grilla la moitié, coutumier de ces phases d’attente. Ses yeux brûlaient d’une flamme nourrie par cette hideuse faim nue. Contenant l’urgence du manque, le Marin tourna lentement la tête par dessus son épaule afin de scanner l’homme qui venait d’entrer. « Fats » Terminal s’était assis à trois tables de là, son regard vide balayant la salle du bar avec lenteur et précision. Lorsque ses yeux se posèrent sur le Marin, il lui fit un imperceptible signe de tête que seuls les nerfs dénudés d’un junkie en manque pouvaient détecter. Le Marin donna une pièce au gamin puis, de sa démarche spectrale, se dirigea comme au radar vers la table de Fats. Les deux hommes restèrent longtemps assis en silence. Le bar était creusé à flanc d’une paroi monolithique, au fond d’une artère étroite taillée dans la masse urbaine. Des visages anonymes allaient et venaient sans un mot, souillés par d’abjectes dépendances et des désirs inhumains. Nimbé dans la lueur blafarde de ses tubes fluorescents, c’était un bathyscaphe en perdition échoué au fond d’une obscure abysse. Le Marin se frottait les ongles sur le revers de son costume à carreaux écossais en sifflotant un air à travers ses dents jaunies par le tabac. Il remua sur sa chaise, chassant de ses
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“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework” vêtements des effluves de moisissure, une odeur musquée de vestiaires vides. Puis se mit à fixer ses ongles, les irradiant de son regard fiévreux. « Okay Fats, je peux t’en lâcher vingt. C’est des bons. Faut que t’avances, bien sûr… - Quoi, comme ça ? - Tu crois que je me balade avec vingt sur moi ? T’es malade… Ecoute, ces œufs, je te dis que c’est du bon matos… » Le Marin scrutait ses ongles comme s’il s’agissait de déchiffrer une carte maritime, « je t’ai déjà carotté peut-être ? » - Tu m’en fais trente, et moi je t’avance dix tubes. Demain même heure. - Fats, il m’en faut un de suite… - Fais un tour, tu vas être servi. » Le Marin zona un peu sur la Plaza, puis fut vite abordé par un gosse des rues qui, fourrant un journal sous son nez, lui glissa discrètement un stylo. Le Marin le lui prit et passa son chemin. Puis sortit le stylo de sa poche et le brisa comme un fétu dans sa poigne de fer. Il en extirpa un cylindre de plomb dont il découpa fébrilement une extrémité avec un couteau à lame courbe. Une brume noire s’échappa lentement du tube et se stabilisa dans les airs, épaisse et bruyante, comme de la fourrure en ébullition. Le visage du Marin se liquéfia, devint vifargent. Sa bouche s’allongea, devint trou noir, pénétra la brume obscure en vibrant et l’aspira en de rapides saccades orgasmiques avant de disparaître dans le flash d’une supernova. Son visage se recomposa en une fraction de seconde avec un piqué et une définition insoutenables, un teint sulfureux et doré, tête de proue ardente de la came qui cuit les neurones d’un million de junkies hurlant à la mort. « Un mois de gagné » se dit-il après avoir procédé à un rapide monitoring interne. Toutes les rues de la Ville convergent en son centre, s’enfonçant avec elle entre les bâtiments aux racines toujours plus profondes, jusqu’à l’immense place en forme de fœtus, lovée dans l’ombre. Les parois des rues et de la place sont percées de bistrots et de cellules résidentielles, sur quelques mètres seulement par endroit, ailleurs se ramifiant en un complexe réseau de salles et de couloirs. A chaque niveau, un entrelacs de ponts, de passerelles et de téléphériques. Partout, de jeunes travelos vêtus de haillons et de robes en toile synthétique, grossièrement fardés par dessus les traces de coups et les arabesques de cicatrices mal refermées laissant parfois apparaître la nacre des os. Tels de silencieux automates, ils se pressent et se collent aux passants, avec insistance. Des trafiquants de Chair Noire, celle du scolopendre des mers, ce mille patte géant pouvant atteindre jusqu’à deux mètres de long, pêché dans des zone maritimes parsemées de rochers
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“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework” noirs et de brunes lagunes iridescentes. Ils exhibent le fruit inerte de leur pêche dans des portions de la place visibles au seuls accros mangeurs de Chair (des adeptes d’innommables langages antédiluviens griffonnant du code hexadécimal désassemblé, des junkies accros à des drogues pas encore synthétisées, des profiteurs de guerre du troisième conflit planétaire, des exciseurs de sensibilité télépathique, des chiropracteurs de l’esprit, des détectives enquêtant d’après les délations de joueurs d’échecs sans visage, des mandataires de condamnations incomplètes encryptées du fond d’un pavillon psychiatrique et promettant d’innommables mutilations mentales, des représentants officiels d’états policiers en gestation. Des courtiers en songes et nostalgies exquises testés sur des cellules nerveuses grillées par la came puis échangés contre la matière première du désir ; des buveurs de Fluide Lourd, ce liquide visqueux fossilisé dans l’ambre onirique.) Le « Bar Biturique » occupe toute une aile de la place, véritable labyrinthe de cuisines, restaurants, alcôves de repos, grilles de balcons haut perchées et caves donnant sur les bains souterrains. Perchés sur les tabourets de bar recouverts de satin blanc, des Mugwumps dénudés boivent à la paille de translucides sirops colorés. Ces créatures n’ont pas de foie et se nourrissent exclusivement de glucides. De fines lèvres violacées recouvrent la noirceur osseuse de leurs becs acérés avec lesquels ils se réduisent en lambeaux pour se disputer les faveurs de clients. Leurs pénis en érection secrètent une substance liquide à addiction immédiate qui augmente la durée de vie de celui qui la consomme tout en ralentissant son métabolisme (et de fait, la dépendance aux drogues régénératrices est directement proportionnelle aux nombres d’années qu’elles permettent de gagner). Les accros à la rosée Mugwump sont connus sous le nom de « Reptiles ». Notamment reconnaissables par la souplesse de leurs membres ainsi que par la teinte bariolée rose et noire de leur chair, plusieurs d’entre eux sont affalés sur des tabouret de bar. Des crêtes de cartilage verdâtre couvertes de poils érectiles saillent derrière leurs oreilles. Creux, ces poils permettent de recueillir le précieux liquide. Parfois parcourus de frémissements imprévisibles, les appendices cartilagineux semblent véhiculer un langage connu des seuls Reptiles. Pendant les Paniques biennales, quand les écorchés vifs de l’Oniropolice ratissent la ville, les Mugwumps se cachent dans les murs : se glissant dans les interstices les plus profonds, ils se coulent dans leurs alcôves d’argile et s’y terrent des semaines en état d’animation suspendue. En ces journées de terreurs ternes, les Reptiles se mettent à courir de manière sporadique, de plus en plus vite, ponctuant leurs dépassements supersoniques avec des hurlements d’angoisse alors que leurs cartilages crâniens s’agitent frénétiquement, comme battus par les noirs maelströms de leur agonie mécanique.

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“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework” A la lueur sordide d’un matin de gueule de bois, les Oniroflics se désintègrent en de putrides globules amibiens que balaye un vieux cyborg toussant et crachant de l’huile usagée. Le Mugwump-en-chef débarque alors avec ses jarres d’albâtre pleines de fluide dont les Reptiles peuvent enfin se repaître. Un air pur et javellisé plane de nouveau sur la ville. Le Marin repéra son Reptile. Il s’en approcha avec nonchalance et commanda un sirop vert fluo. Le Reptile avait une petite bouche ronde aux contours faits de cartilages bruns. Ses yeux glauques étaient quasiment recouverts par la fine membrane de ses paupières. Le Marin attendit une bonne heure avant que le Reptile ne remarque sa présence. « T’as des œufs pour Fats ? » Les mots du Marin firent onduler la crête du Reptile. Il fallut deux heures au Reptile pour lever une main dont les trois doigts, translucides, étaient recouverts d’une pellicule noire. Plusieurs mangeurs de Chair étalés au sol dans leurs régurgitations, trop faibles pour en bouger (la Chair Noire, c’est un peu comme un fromage trop fait : aussi succulent qu’écoeurant, de sorte que ses amateurs en mangent, le vomissent, en remangent et ainsi de suite jusqu’à épuisement total). Un jeune homme au visage fardé s’introduisit dans le Bar et se saisit d’une des grandes pinces noires, en répandant les effluves douçâtres et ses vapeurs entêtantes…

Commentary
Preliminary comments on a puzzling network of drug deals A major difficulty in the understanding of this text is the multiplicity of drug-like products, users and deals. Pitfall 1: there are two substances described as “black fuzz”. Is the “black fuzz” sucked by the Sailor the same as the one to be found on the Reptile’s three fingers? We assume it is not, as the latter seems to be identified as “eggs”. Then what is the content of the tubes? Our guess is that it is not identified. Pitfall 2: there are two substances described as “fluid”. “Drinkers of the Heavy Fuel” populate the Plaza. Reptiles drink Mugwump “fluid” (the longevity agent). The Mugwump Man (a Mugwump himself? Let’s assume he is) brings alabaster jars full of fluid. Mugwump fluid or Heavy Fluid? Most probably the former. Pitfall 3: it is tempting to identitify one of the drugs involved in the action to the chapter title drug, i.e. the “Black Meat”. Indeed, the Black Meat is never formally described, except as flesh, and we propose that the only actual consumption of Black Meat in the Chapter is described

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“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework” line 85-87. To make it short, the action of the chapter – which is an elaborate series of drug deals – can be summed-up as follows (Characters in bold, drugs in italics): Fats gives a tube sample (and probably money) to the Sailor, who will get eggs from a Reptile, who’s himself addicted to a fluid coming from the penis of Mugwumps, who themselves can only consume sweet drinks. The Sailor is to come back the following day to give the eggs to Fats and get more tubes from him. Heavy fluid and Black Meat are other narcotic substances described in the backdrop of this chapter’s narration, but play no direct part in it.

ST: Source text (Burroughs) OTT: Original target text (Kahane) NTT: New target text (this work’s author)

Generic shifts: strengthening of the Cyberpunk atmosphere through semantic field injection (technology, drugs) Individual shift (referential meaning preserved) Line 1 (“’We friends, yes?’”). OTT wants to read like “petit nègre”, that is, oversimplistic French language without proper conjugation attributed to the colonized people of Africa. The ST seems to be Spanish-influenced English, particularly the yes? Kahane’s litteral translation is stiff and unidiomatic even as French spoken by a foreigner, which is purportedly the case of the shoe shine boy character. NTT is spoken, colloquial, contemporary French. Line 10 (“He… junk”): while this technical reference is already present in the OTT (“fréquence silencieuse”), there it is modulated (as “le signal plat”) so as to evoke a major myth of cyberpunk literature: the flatliner, whose mental battle with the Matrix has momentarily left braindead (Gibson 1984). Line 12-13 (“He… in”): “case” is rendered as “recadrer”, a technical term used in photography and photo editing. Line 13-14 (“‘Fats’… eyes”): ST evokes more the movement of a video camera that that of a human eye. While ST and OTT use the image of a “periscope”, NTT replaces the image with a description of the quality of this look.

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“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework” Line 14-15 (“Only… movement”): “peeled nerves” rendered as “nerfs dénudés”. In French, “dénudés” most often collocates with “cable”. This image therefore compares nerves to cables. Perfect example of a very faithful rendering introducing a cyberpunk dimension – combination of flesh and technology – through the use of an adjective belonging to the lexical field of technology. Line 24 (“He… intensity”): with the verb “irradier”, the NTT rendering introduces another technical word belonging to the lexical field of electromagnetic waves (cf “fréquence”, “signal plat”, “spectrale” and “radar”) under the shape of an image preserving the same referential meaning. Line 38-40 (“His face… junkie”). “unbearable sharp and clear” rendered as “avec un piqué et une definition insoutenables” i.e. technical words used respectively in photography and digital imaging. Line 45-49 (“At all… insistence.”). “Catatonic” is rendered by “tels des automates”. Line 63 (“Mugwumps… sweets.”). “sweets” rendered as “glucides” as a medical/technical noun. Line 66-67 (“In fact… life.”). “Longevity agent” rendered as “drogues régénératrices”. Line 76-77 (“The Dream… morning.”). “Globs of rotten ectoplasm” rendered as “putrides globules amibiens” (ectoplasm probably refers here to “the more viscous, clear outer layer of the cytoplasm found in ameboid cells” (Oxford American Dictionary), not to the supernatural goo left by otherworldly entities). “Globules” and “amibiens” are terms mostly used in scientific contexts. Topical shift (change of referential meaning) Line 4. “Impersonal” rendered by “mécanique”. Original target text by Kahane (OTT) proceeds to literal translation. Line 8-9. “Insect” rendered by “androïde”. From there on, the whole “insect” line of images is replaced by technological/cyberpunk images which reflect the same inhuman/automatic/soulless features. NTT does not here completely miss the “bat” image. Its technological dimension – i.e. the squeak of the animal as a sonar – was deliberately kept and enriched it with “séquence

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“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework” sonore” which is a collocation commonly found in the field of digital sound processing. Quite elegant, the rendering of the OTT is much more literal. Line 9-10 (“He stopped… himself”). NTT opts for an approximate rendering and recreating a different image reminiscent of the tuning of a radio reception system. Line 10-11 (“He… cheekbones”). Topical shift in order to keep the cyberpunk connotation (Popovic 1976): a face morphing as could be witnessed in films such as “Terminator” or “The Matrix”. Line 17-18 (“The cafe… masonry”). Topical shift to remain in a cyberpunk setting. Line 19-20 (“The light… depths”). Topical shift. Neon light, an item of the 80s, is very much characteristic of cyberpunk imagery. Line 36-37 (“The Sailor’s face dissolved”). Topical shift. Continuation of the “face morphing” effect initiated line 10-11. Line 38-40 (“His face… junkie”). “searing the grey haunch” rendered as “qui cuit les neurones” to retain the cyberpunk image of the human brain burnt by drugs and technology (cf. “le signal plat” rendering of “the silent frequency” line 10). Line 41 (““This… mirror.”). NTT rendering (“après avoir procédé à un rapide monitoring interne”) suggests that the Sailor might be a cyborg “rigged” with body monitoring equipment. Line 42-43 (“All streets… darkness.”). NTT rendering goes on describing the city as one of skyscrapers (cf. rendering of line 17-18). The shape of the Plaza cannot be satisfyingly compared to that of a “rein” (medical connotation) or “rognon” (food connotation). “Kidney-shaped” is a fixed expression that cannot be translated satisfyingly without loosing impact. OTT compares it with the shape of a bean. In NTT it was decided to go creative and add to the strange and worrying ambiance. Line 45-49 (“At all… insistence.”). “Burlap” rendered as “toile synthétique”. Line 53-59 (“Followers... dreams”). The first item of the list in the NTT (“Des adeptes… désassemblé”) reads like a clear topical shift. But as far as high-level programming language adepts are concerned, assembly language surely is Etruscan… “Brokers of exquisite dreams” is mistranslated in OTT, where it was probably understood as “breaker”. “Sensitized cells of junk

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“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework” sickness” rendered as “cellules nerveuses grillées par la came” (cf. “le signal plat” and “qui cuit les neurones” renderings). Line 74-75 (“In those... agony”). “Insect” rendered as “mécanique” (cf. line 8). Line 76-77 (“The Dream… morning.”). The “old junkie” becomes a Cyborg. See Chapter I (“Cybernetic bodies and posthumanity”) and Chapter II (“Implosion shifts”). Strengthening of cohesion Line 16-17 (“He… down”): Rendering of the “floating walk” with an image - that of a ghost – for two reasons: to strengthen the cohesion in the text with another item from the lexical field of “death”, plus cyberpunk connotation given that one of the meanings of “spectrale” applies to digital signal processing (cf. “fréquence” and “signal plat”). “Drifted” rendered by “au radar”, a French colloquialism using a technological image (also cf “fréquence”, “signal plat”, “spectrale”). As it echoes with “sonar” (cf. translation of lines 8-9), also adds cohesion to the text. Line 35 (“thick, fibrous, pink fingers” as “poigne de fer”; “lead tube” as “cylindre de plomb”), line 36 (“dissolved” as “devint vif-argent”), line 39 (“burning yellow” as “sulfureux et doré”): creation of a cohesive thread through the reference to metals Cultural transposition of period slang (individual shifts) Line 7. OTT sounds dated. NTT is keeping the same referential meaning while being fit for the 2000’s idiolects in France (author’s personal judgement). Line 24-32. OTT was already partly successful (the “tu crois que je me balade” rendering was kept in NTT) but the atrocious literal rendering “en spéculation” is clearly a negative shift. NTT uses an idiolect approximating the street slang from France 1990-2000 decades. Line 33 (“The… Plaza”). “drifted” rendered as “zona” (slang). The OTT rendering “partit en flânant” is connotative of a leisurely, pleasurable activity, which is not exactly the case. Other / artistic license: Line 5. “calleux”, information displaced from line 35 (“thick, fibrous”), where its translation is omitted in order to proceed to cohesion strengthening. Line 6. “junky” omitted for better poetic impact. OTT (“le souffle atone de la drogue”) sounds like serious anti-drug propaganda. Line 12 (“But… hunger”). “dry” rendered as “nue”.

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“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework” Line 38-40 (“His face… junkie”). ST uses a strong and poetic image. NTT recreates a different image – with the same functional purpose – using some elements from the ST (“brand” as “tête de proue”…) Line 35 (“thick, fibrous, pink fingers” as “poigne de fer”; “lead tube” as “cylindre de plomb”), line 36 (“dissolved” as “devint vif-argent”), line 39 (“burning yellow” as “sulfureux et doré”): reference to the Great Work of alchemistry as a metaphor for the Sailor’s transformation as he is getting his fix. For more on “myth, magic and mysticism in the age of information”, read Erik Davis (2004). Line 60 (“The Meet Café… baths”): ST seems to be a pun with “Meat Café” where the Black Meat is the local dope on sale in the premises. OTT rendering “le rendez-vous des omophages” expands the bar’s name in a poetic way, keeping to a certain extent the polysemy of the pun. With “Bar Biturique”, NTT opts for recreating a pun with different meanings evoked: the “Biturique” adjectival barbarism is parented to the French noun “biture/bitture” (“prendre une bitture”: “to get plastered”) hence the “Bar Biturique” would be the bar when one gets plasterd, while “barbiturique” also refers to a kind of narcotic drug. Line 72-74 (“During… biostasis”): “Dream Police” rendered as “Oniropolice”. As mentioned in Chapter I (under “Movement, cutting-up and cybernetic texts”), the use of neologisms is a feature of Cyberpunk literature. Line 76-77 (“The Dream… morning”): “Dream Police” rendered as “Oniroflic” (neologism – cf. line 72-74). Line 77-78 (“The Mugwump Man… smoothed out”): ST meaning is a bit obscure there, the expansion of “smoothed out” clarifies the nature of the fluid carried in the jars (there are two kinds of “fluids” in the chapter, as mentioned in this chapters introductory paragraph). Line 80 (“He drifted… syrup”): “Green syrup” rendered as “sirop vert fluo”. Stressing the superspecificity feature describes in Chapter I (“Superspecificity and the preeminence of surface”). Fluo is also reminiscent of “neon tube”, a cultural icon from the 80’s very much present in Cyberpunk backgrounds.

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“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework”

Chapter V: Conclusion
“‘Nothing Is True – Everything Is Permitted –’ Last Words Hassan I Sabbah” (Burroughs 1964a: 149)

Some fifty years after the publication of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch, one of the founding texts influencing postmodern science fiction, the codes and symbols it seeded in the western world’s collective imagination have long been blooming in every aspect of contemporary life and culture. One of its most prolific offspring has probably been the Cyberpunk movement. From William Gibson’s Neuromancer to the Wachowski brothers’ Matrix trilogy through Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, bleak stories set in “patchwork” futures made of advanced technologies, restricted freedoms and reminiscences from older times have now become universal myths of the postmodern age (Chapter I). As a tribute to the genre’s godfather, but also as a way to recreate his text in a shape that will be accessible to contemporary readership, a Cyberpunk retranslation of The Black Meat, a chapter of Burroughs’ Naked Lunch, has been attempted in the present work. It is proposed that such a retranslation is much needed as the original one from Eric Kahane has today become outdated and lost most of its impact (Chapter II, “Mediating time, distance and language”). It can be argued that proceeding to a translation the purpose of which is to set a literary work of art in a different genre from the one in which it was originally intended should be termed “adaptation”. First of all, as Miles and Grauerholz remind, “by its very nature, Naked Lunch resists the idea of a fixed text” (Miles and Grauerholz 2001: 233). Indeed, as Harris notes, Burroughs did not intend to exclude himself from the scope of his own criticism (Chapter II, “Betrayal of the author’s intent?”). Every piece of human made text, even produced by a literary rogue like Burroughs using scrambling devices such as the cut-up technique, is part of what Burroughs used to call the “word virus” and, as a virus – i.e. a “meme” – is bound to

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“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework” mutate in order to adapt to new environments (Chapter II, “Mediating time, distance and language”). Second, as Bassnet reminds, Much ink has been wasted attempting to differentiate between translations, versions, adaptations and the establishment of a hierarchical ‘correctness’ between these categories. Yet the differentiation between them derives from a concept of the reader as the passive receiver of the text in which its Truth is enshrined. (Bassnet 2002: 81) As discussed in Chapter II (“Betrayal of the author’s intent?”) - Burroughs attempts to produce a strictly non-operative text were doomed. Thereon, translators empowered as both readers and writers with their own intertextuality (Chapter II, “Mediating time, distance and language”) and creativity (Chapter II, “Translation and creativity”) are entitled to raise doubts about the need to render what has been unsuccessful. However, while textual fragmenting devices might not have the “non-operative” effect they were supposed to, they are for sure part of the text’s poetics and participate in its “video medley” effect. The translation approach developed here therefore involves a change of text function – or more exactly of purported text function. This would not be the first time in the history of literature that the genre and function of the TT differs from that of the ST. Reiss (1989 [1977]: 114 in Munday 2001: 75) mentions Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, written in 1726 as a satirical novel and now read and translated as “entertaining fiction”. Popovic’s shifts of expression provide a useful framework that help systemize the formal and referential changes undergone by the text within such a creative translation process (Chapter II, “Popovic’s expression shifts”). The generic shift of the text toward the cyberpunk genre is operated through changes in the suggested reality (images, connotations) with or without change of referential meaning. It could be suggested that the translation process does not go far enough in transferring the text to 'Cyberpunk' imagery and that the generic shift remains a shy one. For example, if the insect imagery is replaced by cyborgs, why not change the Reptiles as well? We believe that the question of the divide between translation and adaptation is answered by such choices: the insect references in The Black Meat are only used as images, while Reptiles are, in flesh and (cold) blood, part of the reality described by the author. As mentioned earlier, this is a fuzzy divide, though, and the most we can assert is that this new version of The Black Meat is rather on the side of translation but that, were it to be published, information should be provided to the reader about the generic and topical shifts it went through.

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“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework” To conclude, it should be noted that a complete retranslation of Naked Lunch using the approach presented in this work should deal with the discontinuity techniques at the level of the novel as a whole, consider whether or not chapter order has to be preserved, and deal with its numerous redundancies. In this case, the new version would undoubtedly have to be termed “adaptation”.

Word count: 14404 words

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language. Presented at Evolutionary Epistemology, Language & Culture Brussels, May 2004. Available at http://home.hj.se/%7Elsj/EELC04.pdf. [Accessed 9th April 2005]. Kramer, John C. (1981) William Burroughs – A Sketch. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs. 13(1): 95-97. Kristeva, Julia (1986) [1969] Word, Dialogue and Novel. In Tori Moi (Ed) The Kristeva Reader. Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 34-61. Kroker, Arthur and Marilouise Kroker (2000) Bunkering in and dumbing down. In David Bell and Barbara M. Kennedy (Eds) The Cybercultures Reader. London and New-York: Routledge, pp 96-103. Originally published in A. Kroker and M. Kroker (1996) Hacking the Future: Stories for the Flesh-Eating 90s. Montreal: New World Perspectives. Leary, Timothy (1991) The Cyberpunk: The Individual as Reality Pilot. In Larry McCaffery (Ed) Storming the Reality Studio: A Casebook of Cyberpunk and Postmodern Science Fiction. New-York: Duke University Press, pp. 245-258. Originally published in Mississippi Review 47/48 (1988): 252-265. Lee, Gregory B and Lam, Sunny S K (1998), Cyberculture and the reimagining of identity in the ‘non-Western’ metropolis. Futures 30(10): 967–979. Leech, Geoffrey N. and Short, Michael H. (1981), Style in fiction: a linguistic introduction to English fictional prose. London and New-York: Longman. McCaffery, Larry (1991) An Interview with William Gibson. In Larry McCaffery (Ed) Storming the Reality Studio: A Casebook of Cyberpunk and Postmodern Science Fiction. New-York: Duke University Press, pp. 263-285. McCaffery, Larry (1991) Cutting Up: Cyberpunk, Punk Music, and Urban

Decontextualization. In Larry McCaffery (Ed) Storming the Reality Studio: A Casebook of Cyberpunk and Postmodern Science Fiction. New-York: Duke University Press, pp. 286-307.

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“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework” McHale, Brian (1991) POSTcyberMODERNpunkISM. In Larry McCaffery (Ed) Storming the Reality Studio: A Casebook of Cyberpunk and Postmodern Science Fiction. New-York: Duke University Press, pp. 308-323. Mackenzie, Rosemary (1995) Creative Problem-Solving and Translator Training. In Ann Beylard-Ozeroff, Jana Králová and Barbara Moser-Mercer (Eds) Translators’ strategies and creativity: selected papers from the 9th international conference on translation and interpreting, Prague, September 1995. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company, pp. 201-206. Maddox, Tom (1991) The Wars of the Coin’s Two Halves: Bruce Sterling’s Mechanist/Shaper Narratives. In Larry McCaffery (Ed) Storming the Reality Studio: A Casebook of Cyberpunk and Postmodern Science Fiction. New-York: Duke University Press, pp. 324-330. Originally published in Mississippi Review 47/48 (1988): 237-244. Miles, Barry and Grauerholz, James (2001) Editors’ note. In James Grauerholz and Barry Miles (Eds) Naked Lunch – the restored text. New-York: Grove Press, pp. 233-247. Munday, Jeremy (2001) Introducing Translation Studies : Theories and Applications. London and New-York: Routledge. Nida, Eugene A. (1995) Translators’ Creativity versus Sociolinguistic Constraints. In Ann Beylard-Ozeroff, Jana Králová and Barbara Moser-Mercer (Eds) Translators’ strategies and creativity: selected papers from the 9th international conference on translation and interpreting, Prague, September 1995. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company, pp.127-136. Odier, Daniel (1974). The Job: Interviews with William S. Burroughs. New York: Grove. Osers, Ewald (1995) Translation Norms: Do they really exist? In Ann Beylard-Ozeroff, Jana Králová and Barbara Moser-Mercer (Eds) Translators’ strategies and creativity: selected papers from the 9th international conference on translation and interpreting, Prague, September 1995. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company, pp.5362.

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“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework” Plant, Sadie (2000) Coming across the future. In David Bell and Barbara M. Kennedy (Eds). The Cybercultures Reader. London and New-York: Routledge, pp. 460-467. Originally published in J. Broadhurst and E. Cassidy (Eds) (1998) Virtual Futures: Cyberotics, Technology and Post-human Pragmatism. London: Routledge. Popovic, Anton (1970) The concept of ‘shifts of expression’ in translation analysis. In James Holmes (ed.), The Nature of Translation. The Hague and Paris: Mouton. Popovic, Anton (1976) A Dictionary for the Analysis of Literary Translation. Edmonton: Department of Comparative Literature, University of Alberta. Porush, David (1985) The Soft Machine: Cybernetic Fiction. New-York: Methuen. Porush, David (1991) Frothing the Synaptic Bath. In Larry McCaffery (Ed) Storming the Reality Studio: A Casebook of Cyberpunk and Postmodern Science Fiction. New-York: Duke University Press, pp.331-333. Pym, Anthony (1995) Lives of Henry Albet, Nietzschean Translator. In Ann Beylard-Ozeroff, Jana Králová and Barbara Moser-Mercer (Eds) Translators’ strategies and creativity: selected papers from the 9th international conference on translation and interpreting, Prague, September 1995. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company, pp.117-125. Reiss, Katharina (2000) [1971] Möglichkeiten und Grenzen der Übersetzungkritik. Munich: Max Hueber, translated by E. Rhodes (2000) as Translation Criticism: Potential and Limitations. Manchester: St Jerome and American Bible Society. Reiss, Katharina (1989) [1977]“Text types, translation types and translation assessment”, translated by A. Chesterman, in A. Chesterman (Ed.) (1989), pp. 105-115. Robins, Kevin (2000) Cyberspace and the world we live in. In David Bell and Barbara M. Kennedy (Eds) The Cybercultures Reader. London and New-York: Routledge, pp 77-95. Originally published in K. Robins (1996) Into the Image: Culture and Politics in the Field of Vision. London: Routledge.

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“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework” Saffo, Paul, 1989. Consensual Realities in Cyberpunk. Phrack [online] 3(30), file #8 of 12. Available from: http://www.phrack.org/issues.html?issue=30&id=8#article [accessed 14 June 2006] Silverberg, Ira (1998) Editor’s preface. In James Grauerholz and Ira Silverberg (Eds) Word virus: the William S. Burroughs reader. New-York: Grove Press, pp. xi-xiii. Slusser, George (1991) Literary MTV. In Larry McCaffery (Ed) Storming the Reality Studio: A Casebook of Cyberpunk and Postmodern Science Fiction. New-York: Duke University Press, pp. 334-342. Originally published in Mississippi Review 47/48 (1988): 279-288. Stelarc (2000) From psycho-body to cyber-systems: images as post-human entities. In David Bell and Barbara M. Kennedy (Eds) The Cybercultures Reader. London and New-York: Routledge, pp. 560-576. Originally published in J. Broadhurst and E. Cassidy (Eds) (1998) Virtual Futures: Cyberotics, Technology and Post-human Pragmatism.. London: Routledge (revised by the author 1999). Sterling, Bruce (1989) Sunken Gardens. In Bruce Sterling (Ed.) Crystal Express. Sauk City: Arkham House. Sterling, Bruce (1991) Preface from Mirrorshades. In Larry McCaffery (Ed) Storming the Reality Studio: A Casebook of Cyberpunk and Postmodern Science Fiction. New-York: Duke University Press, pp. 343-348. Originally published in Bruce Sterling (Ed) (1986) Mirrorshades: the Cyberpunk Anthology. New-York: Harbor House. Stone, Allucquere Rosanne (2000) Will the real body please stand up? In David Bell and Barbara M. Kennedy (Eds) The Cybercultures Reader. London and New-York: Routledge, pp. 504-528. Originally published in M. Benedikt (Ed) (1992) Cyberspace: First Steps. Cambridge: MIT. Edited for inclusion in the Reader. Stone, A. R.i Ostwald, M. J. and Duget, A.-M. (1995) Technology and the Second Hand Experience: Cyberspace Forum for the Sydney Biennale, Sydney: Powerhouse Museum (25 July 1995).

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“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework” Suvin, Darko (1986) On Gibson and Cyberpunk SF. In Larry McCaffery (Ed) Storming the Reality Studio: A Casebook of Cyberpunk and Postmodern Science Fiction. New-York: Duke University Press, pp.349-365. Terranova, Tiziana (2000) Post-human unbounded: artificial evolution and high-tech subcultures. In David Bell and Barbara M. Kennedy (Eds) The Cybercultures Reader. London and New-York: Routledge, pp 268-279. Originally published in G. Robertson et al (Eds) (1996) Future Natural: Nature, Science, Culture. London: Routledge. Thomas, David (2000) The technophilic body: on technicity in William Bibson’s cyborg culture. In David Bell and Barbara M. Kennedy (Eds) The Cybercultures Reader. London and New-York: Routledge, pp 175-189. Originally published in New Formations 8 (1989). Venuti, Lawrence (1995) The Translator’s Invisibility: A history of translation. Routledge (London and New York). Vinay J.P. and Darbelnet J. (1977) [1958] Stylistique comparée du français et de l’anglais : méthode de traduction. Paris : Didier, translated and edited by J.C. Sager and M.-J. Hammel (1995) as Comparative Stylistics of French and English: a Methodology for Translation, Amsterdam and Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins. Wood, Brent (1996) William S. Burroughs and the Language of Cyberpunk Science Fiction Studies 23(1): 11-26. Zoe, Sofia (1984) Exterminating Fetuses: Abortion, Disarmament, and the Sexo-Semiotics of Extraterrestrialism. Diacritics 14(2): 47-59.

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Appendices

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The Black Meat (unknown edition)

"We friends, yes?" The shoe shine boy put on his hustling smile and looked up into the Sailor's dead, cold, undersea eyes, eyes without a trace of warmth or lust or hate or any feeling the boy had ever experienced in himself or seen in another, at once cold and intense, impersonal and predatory.

5

The Sailor leaned forward and put a finger on the boy's inner arm at the elbow. He spoke in his dead, junky whisper. "With veins like that, Kid, I'd have myself a time!" He laughed, black insect laughter that seemed to serve some obscure function of orientation like a bat's squeak. The Sailor laughed three times. He stopped laughing and hung there motionless

10

listening down into himself. He had picked up the silent frequency of junk. His face smoothed out like yellow wax over the high cheek-bones. He waited half a cigarette. The Sailor knew how to wait. But his eyes burned in a hideous dry hunger. He turned his face of controlled emergency in a slow half pivot to case the man who had just come in. "Fats" Terminal sat there sweeping the cafe with blank, periscope eyes. When his eyes passed the Sailor he nodded minutely. Only the peeled nerves of junk

15

sickness would have registered a movement. The Sailor handed the boy a coin. He drifted over to Fat's table with his floating walk and sat down. They sat a long time in silence. The cafe was built into one side of a stone ramp at the bottom of a high white canyon of masonry. Faces of The City poured through silent as fish, stained with vile addictions and insect lusts. The lighted cafe was a diving bell, cable broken, settling into black

20

depths. The Sailor was polishing his nails on the lapels of his glen plaid suit. He whistled a little tune through his shiny, yellow teeth. When he moved an effluvia of mold drifted out of his clothes, a musty smell of deserted locker rooms. He studied his nails with phosphorescent intensity.

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"Good thing here, Fats. I can deliver twenty. Need an advance of course." "On spec?" "So I don't have the twenty eggs in my pocket. I tell you it's jellied consomme, One little whoops and a push." The Sailor looked at his nails as if he were studying a chart. "You know I always deliver."

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"Make it thirty. And a ten tube advance. This time tomorrow. "Need a tube now, Fats." "Take a walk, you'll get one." The Sailor drifted down into the Plaza. A street boy was shoving a newspaper in the Sailor's face to cover his hand on the Sailor's pen. The Sailor walked on. He pulled the pen out and broke it
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like a nut in his thick, fibrous, pink fingers. He pulled out a lead tube. He cut one end of the tube with a little curved knife. A black mist poured out and hung in the air like boiling fur. The Sailor's face dissolved. His mouth undulated forward on a long tube and sucked in the black fuzz, vibrating in supersonic peristalsis disappeared in a silent, pink explosion. His face came back into focus unbearably sharp and clear, burning yellow brand of junk searing the grey haunch of a million

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screaming junkies. "This will last a month," he decided, consulting an invisible mirror. All streets of the City slope down between deepening canyons to a vast, kidney-shaped plaza full of darkness. Walls of street and plaza are perforated by dwelling cubicles and cafes, some a few feet deep, others extending out of sight in a network of rooms and corridors.

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At all levels criss-cross of bridges, cat walks, cable cars. Catatonic youths dressed as women in gowns of burlap and rotten rags, faces heavily and crudely painted in bright colors over a strata of beatings, arabesques of broken, suppurating scars to the pearly bone, push against the passer-by in silent clinging insistence.

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Traffickers in the Black Meat, flesh of the giant aquatic black centipede -- sometimes attaining a length of six feet -- found in a lane of black rocks and iridescent, brown lagoons, exhibit paralyzed crustaceans in camouflage pockets of the Plaza visible only to the Meat Eaters. Followers of obsolete unthinkable trades, doodling in Etruscan, addicts of drugs not yet synthesized, black marketeers of World War III, excisors of telepathic sensitivity, osteopaths of the

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spirit, investigators of infractions denounced by bland paranoid chess players, servers of fragmentary warrants taken down in hebephrenic shorthand charging unspeakable mutilations of the spirit, officials of unconstituted police states, brokers of exquisite dreams and nostalgias tested on the sensitized cells of junk sickness and bartered for raw materials of the will, drinkers of the Heavy Fluid sealed in translucent amber of dreams.

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The Meet Cafe occupies one side of the Plaza, a maze of kitchens, restaurants, sleeping cubicles, perilous iron balconies and basements opening into the underground baths. On stools covered in white satin sit naked Mugwumps sucking translucent, colored syrups through alabaster straws. Mugwumps have no liver and nourish themselves exclusively on sweets. Thin, purple-blue lips cover a razor-sharp beak of black bone with which they frequently tear each

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other to shreds in fights over clients. These creatures secrete an addicting fluid from their erect penises which prolongs life by slowing metabolism. (In fact all longevity agents have proved addicting in exact ratio to their effectiveness in prolonging life.) Addicts of Mugwump fluid are known as Reptiles. A number of these flow over chairs with their flexible bones and black-pink flesh. A fan of green cartilage covered with hollow, erectile hairs through which the Reptiles absorb the fluid sprouts

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from behind each ear. The fans, which move from time to time touched by invisible currents, serve also same form of communication known only to Reptiles.
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During the biennial Panics when the raw, pealed Dream Police storm the City, the Mugwumps take refuge in the deepest crevices of the wall sealing themselves in clay cubicles and remain for weeks in biostasis. In those days of grey terror the Reptiles dart about faster and faster, scream past

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each other at supersonic speed, their flexible skulls flapping in black winds of insect agony. The Dream Police disintegrate in globs of rotten ectoplasm swept away by an old junky, coughing and spitting in the sick morning. The Mugwump Man comes with alabaster jars of fluid and the Reptiles get smoothed out. The air is once again still and clear as glycerine.

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The Sailor spotted his Reptile. He drifted over and ordered a green syrup. The Reptile had a little, round disk mouth of brown gristle, expressionless green eyes almost covered by a thin membrane of eyelid. The Sailor waited an hour before the creature picked up his presence. "Any eggs for Fats?" he asked, his words stirring through the Reptile's fan hairs. It took two hours for the Reptile to raise three pink transparent fingers covered with black fuzz.

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Several Meat Eaters lay in vomit, too weak to move. (The Black Meat is like a tainted cheese, overpoweringly delicious and nauseating so that the eaters eat and vomit and eat again until they fall exhausted.) A painted youth slithered in and seized one of the great black claws sending the sweet, sick smell curling through the cafe.

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La viande noire (original translation by Eric Kahane, 1964)
Nous copains, oui? Le petit cireur, un sourire aguicheur plaqué aux lèvres, leva son regard sur les yeux du Matelot, des yeux morts, d’un froid de profondeurs océaniques, sans la moindre trace d’affection, ni de désir, ni de haine, ni de quelque autre sentiment que le gamin pût avoir éprouvé lui-même ou constaté chez autrui, des yeux au regard tout ensemble intense et glacé, avide, impersonnel. Le Matelot se pencha, ficha son index à la saignée du bras gauche du petit cireur, et il murmura dans un souffle –le souffle atone de la drogue: “Avec des veines comme ça, gamin, je serais à la fête!” Il pouffa d’un rire noir qui avait peut-être une obscure fonction d’orientation comme le cri de la chauve-souris. Puis il se tut brusquement, en suspension dans l’air, sans un mouvement, écoutant tout au fond de lui-même. Il avait capté la fréquence silencieuse de la came. Son visage aux pommettes hautes se lissa, comme s’il avait été soudainement enduit de cire jaune. Il patienta le temps d’une demi-cigarette. Le Matelot savait attendre. Mais son regard brûlait d’une fringale desséchante. Il fit pivoter d’un quart de tour son masque de famine circonspecte pour examiner l’homme qui venait d’entrer. Terminus, dit la Bedaine, s’assit à une table et examina la salle du café d’un œil vide et froid comme un périscope. Son regard passa sur le Matelot et il hocha imperceptiblement la tête. Seuls les nerfs à vif du mal de came auraient pu enregistrer cette saccade infime. Le Matelot tendit une pièce de monnaie au cireur, glissa de son pas flottant jusqu'à la table de la Bedaine et s’assit. Ils restèrent face à face, sans parler, durant plusieurs minutes. Le café était creusé dans une rampe de béton au pied d’une haute falaise blanche de maçonnerie. Les visages de la ville s’y infiltraient, silencieux comme des poissons, les traits tavelés de vices et de passions microscopiques. Le café trop éclairé ressemblait à une cloche de plongée s’enfonçant, câble rompu, dans les ténèbres des profondeurs. Le Matelot polissait ses ongles au revers de son complet de tweed à petits carreaux, en sifflotant un bout de refrain entre ses dents jaunes et luisantes. A chacun de ses gestes, un relent de moisi s’échappait de ses vêtements, une odeur viciée de vestiaire abandonné. Il étudia ses ongles avec une intensité qui rendait son regard presque phosphorescent. J’ai du bon, la Bedaine. Je peux en livrer une vingtaine. Il me faut une avance, bien sûr. En spéculation? Tu crois que je me balade avec deux douzaines d’œufs dans les poches? Je te jure que c’est du solide. Il s’absorba dans la contemplation de ses ongles, avec la même attention que s’il avait étudié une carte marine. Tu sais que je fais jamais faux bond. Mets-m’en trente, dit la Bedaine. Avec une avance de dix tubes. Demain

“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework” même heure. Besoin d’un tube tout de suite, vieux. Va faire un tour, tu en auras un. Le Matelot partit en flânant sur la Plaza. Un gamin vint lui plaquer un journal sous le nez pour masquer le stylo qu’il lui glissait dans la main. Le Matelot poursuivit sa route de son pas glissant. Il cassa le corps du stylo comme une noix entre ses gros doigts fibreux, et extirpa un cylindre de plomb. Il en coupa l’extrémité avec un petit canif à la lame recourbée. Une buée noirâtre s’échappa du tube, flottant dans l’air comme une fourrure en ébullition. Le visage du Matelot se dilua, sa bouche se fronça autour du cylindre, il aspira le duvet noir, les lèvres agitées de contractions ultrasoniques qui explosèrent en une flamme rose et silencieuse. Ses traits se cristallisèrent avec une netteté, une clarté insupportables –la marque rougie a blanc de la drogue brûlant la chair grise de millions de malades hurlant à la mort. « J’en ai pour un mois! » se dit-il, consultant un miroir invisible. Toutes les rues de la ville courent entre des gorges profondes qui débouchent sur une grande place en forme de haricot. Les façades entourant la place constamment baignée d’ombre sont percées d’alvéoles, taudis ou cafés, les uns profonds de quelques pieds, les autres se perdant en un labyrinthe de chambres et de couloirs. A tous les niveaux, un lacis de ponts, de passerelles, de câbles de tramways a crémaillère. De jeunes catatoniques travestis en femmes (robes de jute et haillons pourrissants, leurs visages lourdement et crûment bariolés pour cacher l’écorce d’ecchymoses et de plaies mal cicatrisées, sillons purulents creusés jusqu'à la nacre de l’os) se frottent muettement contre les passants avec une avidité gluante. Des trafiquants de Viande Noire –la chair de la scolopendre aquatique noire, le Mille-Pattes géant qui peut atteindre deux mètres et vit dans un univers de roches sombres et de lagunes aux couleurs d’arc-en-ciel –exhibent des crustacés paralysés au fond des caches secrètes de la Plaza qui ne sont accessibles qu’aux Mangeurs de Viande. On y voit les adeptes de vocations anachroniques et a peine imaginables qui gribouillent en étrusque –des amateurs de drogues pas encore synthétisées, des exciseurs de sensibilité télépathique, des ostéopathes de l’esprit, des agents spéciaux chargés d’enquêter sur les délits que dénoncent fielleusement des joueurs d’échecs paranoïdes, des trafiquants de marché noir de la Troisième Guerre mondiale, des huissiers qui délivrent des exploits fragmentaires rédiges en sténographie hébéphrénique et stigmatisant d’odieuses mutilations de l’esprit, des fonctionnaires d’États policiers non constitués, des briseurs de rêves et autres nostalgies sublimes testés sur les cellules sensibilisées par le Mal de Drogue et troqués contre les matériaux bruts de la volonté, des buveurs du Fluide Lourd scellé dans l’ambre clair des rêves (c’est a Jacques Stern que je dois le concept du Fluide Lourd)… Le Rendez-Vous des Omophages occupe tout un côté de la Plaza, un entrelac de cuisines, de gargotes, de garnis exigus, de vertigineux balcons de fer, de soupiraux ouvrant sur les bains en sous-sol. Affalés sur des tabourets recouverts de satin blanc, des Mugwumps
Grégory Dziedzic

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“For a Cyberpunk retranslation of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch in French using Popovic’s generic shifts in a memetic framework” nus suçotent des sirops translucides au bout de chalumeaux d’albâtre. (N.B. – Les Mugwumps – de l’algonquin Mog-kiomp, « grand chef » - étaient, à l’origine, dans l’argot politique américain de 1900, les gros bonnets neutralistes faisant cavalier seul.) Les Mugwumps d’aujourd’hui n’ont pas de oie et se nourrissent exclusivement de sucreries. Ils ont des lèvres minces et violacées cachant un bec d’os noir effilé comme un rasoir avec lequel ils se déchiquettent les uns les autres quand ils se disputent un client. Ces créatures sécrètent avec leur pénis un fluide qui prolonge la vie en ralentissant la métabolisme mais crée du même coup une accoutumance proche de la toxicomanie. (En fait, tous les facteurs de longévité entraînent une toxicomanie proportionnelle à leur efficacité.) Les amateurs de fluide de Mugwump sont connus sous le nom de Reptiles. On voit nombre de ces fluidomanes morbides, à la chair rose-noir et aux os malléables, dégouliner littéralement de leurs sièges. Derrière leurs oreilles jaillissent deux éventails de cartilage verdâtre couverts de poils creux et érectiles par lesquels les Reptiles absorbent le fluide. Ces éventails, qui s’agitent de temps à autre sous des courant invisibles, servent aussi à établir une mystérieuse forme de communication à l’usage exclusif des Reptiles. Lors des Paniques Biennales, quand les écorchés vifs de la Police Onirique investissent la ville, les Mugwumps se réfugient au plus profond des crevasses murales, se lovent dans des cocons d’argile étroitement soudés autour d’eux et végètent en biostase des semaines d’affilée. Pendant ces périodes de terreurs grises, les Reptiles errent désespérément, s’enfuient en vociférant à des vitesses vertigineuses, leurs crânes flexibles papillotant dans le tourbillon noir de leur agonie d’insecte. La Police Onirique se désintègre en bribes d’ectoplasme ranci que vient balayer un vieux camé toussant et crachant dans l’aube malade. Le Mugwump fourgueur apparaît alors avec des jarres d’albâtre pleines de fluide et les Reptiles se gavent à plus soif. L’air redevient calme et clair comme de la glycérine. … Le Matelot aperçut son Reptile. Il se glissa près de lui, commanda un sirop vert. Le Reptile avait une bouche minuscule et ronde faite de cartilage brun, des yeux verts sans expression, à demi recouverts par une paupière de fine membrane. Le Matelot attendit une heure entière, puis le Reptile aperçut enfin sa présence. - Tu as des œufs pour la Bedaine ? demande le Matelot, chacun de ses mots décochant des vibrations dans les poils des éventails du Reptile. Il lui fallut patienter deux heures encore, puis le Reptile éleva trois doigts roses et diaphanes tapissés de duvet noir. Plusieurs Mangeurs de Viande gisaient dans leur vomi, trop faibles pour en bouger. (La Viande Noire est comme le fromage trop fait, si fabuleusement exquise et écœurante que les Mangeurs s’en gorgent puis la dégorgent et s’en gorgent encore jusqu’à ce qu’ils s’écroulent d’épuisement.) Un adolescent fardé entra en minaudant et arracha une des grandes pinces noires du Mille-Pattes, noyant le bistrot sous des volutes d’arômes sucrés et nauséeux.
Grégory Dziedzic

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