Translation and the Double Bind of Imaginative Resistance

Hubscher-Davidson, Severine (2020). Translation and the Double Bind of Imaginative Resistance. Translation Studies, 13(3) pp. 251–270.



Imaginative resistance is a reluctance to buy into morally deviant fictional worlds. While most people have little trouble imagining acts of violence happening in fiction, they will struggle to entertain the idea that such acts could be the moral thing to do, even within a fictional universe. Although this phenomenon has received a lot of attention from philosophers, it is absent from the Translation Studies literature despite its relevance. In this paper, the significance of imaginative resistance for the literary translation process will be explored. A number of areas will be identified where translation research can make an important contribution to philosophical debates on this issue. In particular, imaginative resistance will be theorized as a new translation double bind. By bringing together research from two disciplines, this paper aims to encourage novel ways of thinking about both the translation process and the puzzle of imaginative resistance.

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