un porte-regard

English translation: a delegated focaliser

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
French term or phrase:un porte-regard
English translation:a delegated focaliser
Entered by: Charles Davis
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10:21 Jul 7, 2018
French to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Poetry & Literature
French term or phrase: un porte-regard
From an academic article on Giotto and specifically his fresco, The Meeting at the Golden Gate, viewable here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joachim_and_Anne_Meeting_at_th...

The writer is describing the figure of the veiled woman in the fresco, whose rather sinister appearance contrasts with the joy expressed in the rest of the piece:

"En effet, cette femme en habits sombres, fait le deuil de son corps. Seule une partie de son visage est encore visible, en laissant découvert l’œil gauche, tandis que l’œil droit reste partiellement occulté. Cette femme est un « porte-regard » sui-generis. Arrêtée sur le seuil de la porte, spectrale, absente et présente en même temps, elle se définit comme la figure solitaire d’une hostilité cachée."

I have found a few examples of "un porte-regard" online, and it seems to me that it might be a term used in literary theory. I would be grateful for any suggestions on how to translate it.
Martin Fyles
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:01
delegated focaliser /
Explanation:
This may sound a bit wacky and pretentious, but I think it's the terminology being invoked here. A "porte-regard" is an observer, an onlooker, but I believe it means more than that: just as a "porte-parole" is a delegated speaker, someone who speaks for another, so a "porte-regard" is a delegated observer, someone who "looks" for another (in this case the viewers of the painting: ourselves).

You are right that "porte-regard" is a literary term. It was coined by Philippe Hamon, who has used it in a number of his studies of narrative theory, and what he means by it is a function of the "focalisateur", the focaliser: put simply, the character through whose eyes we see the story:
http://narrative.georgetown.edu/wiki/index.php/Focalizer

The idea of focalisation in narrative was first developed by Gérard Genette.

"On peut de bon droit voir en ces analyses un prolongement des travaux de Philippe Hamon sur les fonctions du personnage focalisateurporte-regard », « porte-parole » ou « porte-travail »), appliqué à l’esthétique balzacienne. Ph. Hamon, Introduction à l’analyse du descriptif, Paris, Hachette, 1981."

"D'autre part, enfin, le personnage focalisateur, celui par les regards, ou le « point de vue », ou les paroles de qui sont systématiquement présentés [...] les objets, les milieux, les autres personnages, n'est pas forcément le personnage le plus focalisé, le plus important, fonctionnellement ou idéologiquement, du récit. Et il est évident, notamment, que certains « rôles » de simples focalisateurs, de « porte-regard » ou de « porte-parole » ou de « porte-travail », personnages chargés tout spécialement d'introduire des descriptions [...] coïncident souvent avec des personnages très secondaires de l'oeuvre"
Philippe Hamon, Texte et idéologie
https://books.google.es/books?id=TgkLCwAAQBAJ&pg=PT41&lpg=PT...

Note that Hamon's point here is that the "porte-regard" focaliser can be and often is a minor character: as is the case in this Giotto painting.

Another enlightening passage in English, making the connection with the idea of delegated seeing:

"Philippe Hamon analyses how descriptive passages are introduced into a text. He concludes that representations of space are typically presented by a focalizer, an individual who is seeing [...] Spatial representation 'stems from the ability of the character to whom vision has been delegated'"
Michael James White, Space in Theodor Fontane's Works: Theme and Poetic Function, p. 6
https://books.google.es/books?id=E3z-QN-Nx4wC&pg=PA6&lpg=PA6...

And finally, an application of this idea of focalisation to painting, in a discussion of Rembrandt's Danaë:

"But in combination with the look of the servant behind the curtain, an internal focalizer, the hand sends away the voyeuristic gaze. [...] The viewer [...] is equally deprived of his identity, as his eyes hit his mirror image in the two represented onlookers: in narratological terms, the delegated focalizers.
Vision and Textuality, p. 164
https://books.google.es/books?id=GktdDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA164&lpg=P...

And I think that's the term I would use here.

Just as an afterthought, and not entirely seriously, I've added Laura Mulvey's expression "the bearer of the look". It's an interesting coincidence that Hamon coined the term "porte-regard" around 1980, just a few years after Mulvey put forward the idea of the male "bearer of the look" in film, in 1975: the male gaze being the one through which the characters and action are normally seen. I'm not suggesting there's a causal connecion, but since Mulvey's term has become so well known (among those interested in this sort of theory), I am almost tempted to suggest it as a translation here. But not quite: it invokes quite a different set of ideas, really.


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 7 hrs (2018-07-07 18:09:32 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Well, "bearer of the look" has deleted itself from the answer box, perhaps because I put it in inverted commas. Probably a good thing, in fact. But it's just about worth mentioning, I think.
Selected response from:

Charles Davis
Spain
Local time: 03:01
Grading comment
This is very helpful, thank you!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
4delegated focaliser /
Charles Davis
3an observer
B D Finch


  

Answers


15 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
an observer


Explanation:
She is someone outside the activity being portrayed and at a remove from it. While the author's idea that she is "d’une hostilité cachée" is only one of several possible interpretations (she could be seen as symbolic of fate, a forewarning (and mourning) of the crucifixion ...). Her central position between the two groups of figures certainly means she was intended to be significant, not just a bystander. Also, she is observing the scene from the opposite viewpoint to ours, the viewers of the painting. So, what she sees is what we don't see.

B D Finch
France
Local time: 03:01
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 39
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

7 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
delegated focaliser /


Explanation:
This may sound a bit wacky and pretentious, but I think it's the terminology being invoked here. A "porte-regard" is an observer, an onlooker, but I believe it means more than that: just as a "porte-parole" is a delegated speaker, someone who speaks for another, so a "porte-regard" is a delegated observer, someone who "looks" for another (in this case the viewers of the painting: ourselves).

You are right that "porte-regard" is a literary term. It was coined by Philippe Hamon, who has used it in a number of his studies of narrative theory, and what he means by it is a function of the "focalisateur", the focaliser: put simply, the character through whose eyes we see the story:
http://narrative.georgetown.edu/wiki/index.php/Focalizer

The idea of focalisation in narrative was first developed by Gérard Genette.

"On peut de bon droit voir en ces analyses un prolongement des travaux de Philippe Hamon sur les fonctions du personnage focalisateurporte-regard », « porte-parole » ou « porte-travail »), appliqué à l’esthétique balzacienne. Ph. Hamon, Introduction à l’analyse du descriptif, Paris, Hachette, 1981."

"D'autre part, enfin, le personnage focalisateur, celui par les regards, ou le « point de vue », ou les paroles de qui sont systématiquement présentés [...] les objets, les milieux, les autres personnages, n'est pas forcément le personnage le plus focalisé, le plus important, fonctionnellement ou idéologiquement, du récit. Et il est évident, notamment, que certains « rôles » de simples focalisateurs, de « porte-regard » ou de « porte-parole » ou de « porte-travail », personnages chargés tout spécialement d'introduire des descriptions [...] coïncident souvent avec des personnages très secondaires de l'oeuvre"
Philippe Hamon, Texte et idéologie
https://books.google.es/books?id=TgkLCwAAQBAJ&pg=PT41&lpg=PT...

Note that Hamon's point here is that the "porte-regard" focaliser can be and often is a minor character: as is the case in this Giotto painting.

Another enlightening passage in English, making the connection with the idea of delegated seeing:

"Philippe Hamon analyses how descriptive passages are introduced into a text. He concludes that representations of space are typically presented by a focalizer, an individual who is seeing [...] Spatial representation 'stems from the ability of the character to whom vision has been delegated'"
Michael James White, Space in Theodor Fontane's Works: Theme and Poetic Function, p. 6
https://books.google.es/books?id=E3z-QN-Nx4wC&pg=PA6&lpg=PA6...

And finally, an application of this idea of focalisation to painting, in a discussion of Rembrandt's Danaë:

"But in combination with the look of the servant behind the curtain, an internal focalizer, the hand sends away the voyeuristic gaze. [...] The viewer [...] is equally deprived of his identity, as his eyes hit his mirror image in the two represented onlookers: in narratological terms, the delegated focalizers.
Vision and Textuality, p. 164
https://books.google.es/books?id=GktdDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA164&lpg=P...

And I think that's the term I would use here.

Just as an afterthought, and not entirely seriously, I've added Laura Mulvey's expression "the bearer of the look". It's an interesting coincidence that Hamon coined the term "porte-regard" around 1980, just a few years after Mulvey put forward the idea of the male "bearer of the look" in film, in 1975: the male gaze being the one through which the characters and action are normally seen. I'm not suggesting there's a causal connecion, but since Mulvey's term has become so well known (among those interested in this sort of theory), I am almost tempted to suggest it as a translation here. But not quite: it invokes quite a different set of ideas, really.


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 7 hrs (2018-07-07 18:09:32 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Well, "bearer of the look" has deleted itself from the answer box, perhaps because I put it in inverted commas. Probably a good thing, in fact. But it's just about worth mentioning, I think.

Charles Davis
Spain
Local time: 03:01
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 12
Grading comment
This is very helpful, thank you!
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)



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