Translator’s notes

1
Vincent Van Gogh, Lettres à son frère Théo (Paris: Grasset, 1937), p. 181.
2
Neologism formed by Cixous from neologisms like négritude etc.
3
From the Italian. This painterly term means an alteration, an artistic second thought, which can sometimes still be discerned in the finished work. In French, the word for this is repentir, which also means ‘repentance,’ thus producing a double meaning I found impossible to render in English: of the depiction of the head as having been slightly altered during the act of painting, and of the head’s drooping position as indicating a feeling of repentance on the part of Bathsheba. For a further discussion of the notion of repentir in painting, see Hélène Cixous, ‘Without end, no, State of drawingness, no, rather: The Executioner’s taking off,’ this volume, pp. 20-31.
4
In French, the following passage plays with the ‘femininity’ of the letter (la lettre) in a complicated intertwining of feminine pronouns that refer at times to the letter, at others to Bathsheba. Unfortunately, this proximity and even confusion between the two is lost in English.
5
In French: David est l’hors. Le hors, L’ordonnateur. This complex sentence, impossible to render precisely in English, plays with the French word for ‘outside.’ The word for ‘arranger’ can also be heard as l’hors donnateur (the giver of the outside), thus referring back to what comes before, and so on.
6
Vincent Van Gogh, Lettres à son frère Théo (Paris: Grasset, 1937), p. 123.
7
In order for the rest of the passage to make sense, I have translated the title of this painting by Rembrandt directly from the French. In English, this same painting is called Scholar in a Room with Winding Stair.
8
See n. 2.
9
Horst Gerson, Rembrandt’s Paintings, trans. H. Norden, ed. G. Schwantz (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1968).

-19-

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