Mark Polizzotti

Mark Polizzotti has translated more than fifty books, including works by Patrick Modiano, Gustave Flaubert, Raymond Roussel, Marguerite Duras, and Paul Virilio. Publisher and Editor-in-Chief at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, he is also the author of Revolution of the Mind: The Life of André Breton and other books.

  • Sympathy for the Traitor

    Sympathy for the Traitor

    A Translation Manifesto

    Mark Polizzotti

    An engaging and unabashedly opinionated examination of what translation is and isn't.

    For some, translation is the poor cousin of literature, a necessary evil if not an outright travesty—summed up by the old Italian play on words, traduttore, traditore (translator, traitor). For others, translation is the royal road to cross-cultural understanding and literary enrichment. In this nuanced and provocative study, Mark Polizzotti attempts to reframe the debate along more fruitful lines. Eschewing both these easy polarities and the increasingly abstract discourse of translation theory, he brings the main questions into clearer focus: What is the ultimate goal of a translation? What does it mean to label a rendering “faithful”? (Faithful to what?) Is something inevitably lost in translation, and can something also be gained? Does translation matter, and if so, why? Unashamedly opinionated, both a manual and a manifesto, his book invites usto sympathize with the translator not as a “traitor” but as the author's creative partner.

    Polizzotti, himself a translator of authors from Patrick Modiano to Gustave Flaubert, explores what translation is and what it isn't, and how it does or doesn't work. Translation, he writes, “skirts the boundaries between art and craft, originality and replication, altruism and commerce, genius and hack work.” In Sympathy for the Traitor, he shows us how to read not only translations but also the act of translation itself, treating it not as a problem to be solved but as an achievement to be celebrated—something, as Goethe put it, “impossible, necessary, and important.”

    • Hardcover $22.95
    • Paperback $15.95

Contributor

  • Pure War, New Edition

    Pure War, New Edition

    Paul Virilio and Sylvère Lotringer

    Virilio and Lotringer revisit their prescient book on the invisible war waged by technology against humanity since World War II.

    In June 2007, Paul Virilio and Sylvère Lotringer met in La Rochelle, France to reconsider the premises they developed twenty-five years before in their frighteningly prescient classic, Pure War. Pure War described the invisible war waged by technology against humanity, and the lack of any real distinction since World War II between war and peace. Speaking with Lotringer in 1982, Virilio noted the “accidents” that inevitably arise with every technological development: from car crashes to nuclear spillage, to the extermination of space and the derealization of time wrought by instant communication. In this new and updated edition, Virilio and Lotringer consider how the omnipresent threat of the “accident”—both military and economic—has escalated. With the fall of the Soviet bloc, the balance of power between East and West based on nuclear deterrence has given way to a more diffuse multi-polar nuclear threat. Moreover, as the speed of communication has increased exponentially, “local” accidents—like the collapse of the Asian markets in the late 1980s—escalate, with the speed of contagion, into global events instantaneously. “Globalization,” Virilio argues, is the planet's ultimate accident.Paul Virilio was born in Paris in 1932 to an immigrant Italian family. Trained as an urban planner, he became the director of the École Speciale d'Architecture in the wake of the 1968 rebellion. He has published twenty-five books, including Pure War (1988) (his first in English) and The Accident of Art (2005), both with Sylvère Lotringer and published by Semiotext(e). Sylvère Lotringer, general editor of Semiotext(e), lives in New York and Baja California. He is the author of Overexposed: Perverting Perversions (Semiotext(e), 2007) and other books.

    • Paperback $15.95
  • Forget Foucault, New Edition

    Forget Foucault, New Edition

    Jean Baudrillard

    Characterizing it as a "mythic discourse," Jean Baudrillard proceeds, in this brilliant essay, to dismantle the powerful, seductive figure of Michel Foucault.

    In 1976, Jean Baudrillard sent this essay to the French magazine Critique, where Michel Foucault was an editor. Foucault was asked to reply, but remained silent. Forget Foucault (1977) made Baudrillard instantly infamous in France. It was a devastating revisitation of Foucault's recent History of Sexuality—and of his entire oeuvre—and also an attack on those philosophers, like Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, who believed that desire could be revolutionary. In Baudrillard's eyes, desire and power were interchangeable, so desire had no place in Foucault's work. There is no better introduction to Baudrillard's polemical approach to culture than these pages, in which Baudrillard dares Foucault to meet the challenge of his own thought. This Semiotext(e) edition of Forget Foucault is accompanied by a dialogue with Sylvère Lotringer, "Forget Baudrillard," a reevaluation by Baudrillard of his lesser-known early works as a post-Marxian thinker. Lotringer presses Baudrillard to explain how he arrived at his infamous extrapolationist theories from his roots in the nineteenth and early twentieth century social and anthropological works of Karl Marx, Marcel Mauss, and Emil Durkheim.

    • Paperback $14.95
  • Speed and Politics, New Edition

    Speed and Politics, New Edition

    Paul Virilio

    With this book Paul Virilio inaugurated the new science whose object of study is the "dromocratic" revolution.

    Speed and Politics (first published in France in 1977) is the matrix of Virilio's entire work. Building on the works of Morand, Marinetti, and McLuhan, Virilio presents a vision more radically political than that of any of his French contemporaries: speed as the engine of destruction. Speed and Politics presents a topological account of the entire history of humanity, honing in on the technological advances made possible through the militarization of society. Paralleling Heidegger's account of technology, Virilio's vision sees speed—not class or wealth—as the primary force shaping civilization. In this "technical vitalism," multiple projectiles—inert fortresses and bunkers, the "metabolic bodies" of soldiers, transport vessels, and now information and computer technology—are launched in a permanent assault on the world and on human nature. Written at a lightning-fast pace, Virilio's landmark book is a split-second, overwhelming look at how humanity's motivity has shaped the way we function today, and what might come of it.

    • Paperback $15.95
  • Pure War

    Pure War

    Paul Virilio and Sylvère Lotringer

    In this dazzling dialogue with Sylvere Lotringer, Paul Virilio for the first time displayed the whole range of his reflections on the effect of speed on our civilization—every one of which has been dramatically confirmed over the years since this book's publication.

    "Pure war" is the name of the invisible war that technology is waging against humanity. In this dazzling dialogue with Sylvere Lotringer, Paul Virilio for the first time displayed the whole range of his reflections on the effect of speed on our civilization and every one of them has been dramatically confirmed over the years. For Virilio, the foremost philosopher of speed, the "technical surprise" of World War I was the discovery that the wartime economy could not be sustained unless it was continued in peacetime. As a consequence, the distinction between war and peace ceased to apply, inaugurating the military-industrial complex and the militarization of science itself.Every new invention casts a long shadow that we are generally unwilling to acknowledge in the name of progress: the invention of automobiles inaugurated car-crashes; the invention of nuclear energy, Hiroshima and Tchernobyl. The technologies of instant communications have invented another kind of accident: the extermination of space and the derealization of time. Instant feedback is shrinking the planet to nothing, and "globalization" is its ultimate accident. First published in 1983, this book introduced Virilio's thinking to the United States. For successive generations of readers, it remains one of the most influential and far-reaching essays of our time.

    • Paperback $12.95
  • Forget Foucault

    Forget Foucault

    & Forget Baudrillard

    Jean Baudrillard

    Characterizing it as a "mythic discourse," Jean Baudrillard proceeds, in this brilliant essay, to dismantle the powerful, seductive figure of Michel Foucault. In a torrent of haikus, which can now be seen as classically Baudrillardian, he swirls Foucault's concepts of repression, sexuality, production, consumption, and history around in an intense, and often comical, reversal of forces. Exceeding the boundaries of literary or philosophical critique, Baudrillard writes from beyond the horizon of political thought and in a space of phantasmic speculation, finally "using" Foucault's terminologies and public significance to launch his own form of occult, philosophical clarity. In the second half of the book, Baurillard meets his match in an interview with Sylvere Lotringer, who teases Baudrillard with his own ideas, in turn making commentaries on subjects as diverse as panic, ecstasy, and May '68.

    • Paperback $11.95
  • Popular Defense & Ecological Struggles

    Popular Defense & Ecological Struggles

    Paul Virilio

    What is popular defense? From whom do we have to defend ourselves?

    What is popular defense? From whom do we have to defend ourselves? Originally civilian populations were capable of defending themselves both in times of peace and war. A military racket was subsequently imposed upon them in the name of protection and popular defense lost its capacity to resist external attack. In case of total war, between the native populations which form the constitutional basis of all great modern states and the military now in charge of defending them there was no more "common culture." Industrial wars subsequently managed to replace the thousand-year-old pact of semi-colonization with total colonization. First experimented with in South America, this kind of "endo-colonization" (the military cracking down on its own population) was gradually extended to all the post-industrial countries through the exponential development of the techno-military complex.

    • Paperback $12.95