The Sexual Translator

Wayne Koestenbaum at n+1:

The pivotal event in our friendship concerned Mallarmé. The translator, Abel Mars, had discovered the secret key to Divagations, and embarked on a translation that would reveal to the world the unsuspected sexual architecture underlying Mallarmé’s sense-confounding essays, which destroyed readers while seeming to titillate them. Abel (or Abelline, as I sometimes called him, in moments of intimacy) had a fear of blue objects (vases, shirts, flowers, paintings, rugs); anything blue horrified him, perhaps because his mother had once exposed him, during a childhood attack of meningitis, to a not-yet-patented blue light, which a quack acquaintance had pushed on the family as a cure-all device for their ailing, precocious son. The blue light, which his mother had trained on his naked body as he lay on the living room carpet, had caused him to bleed from the ears; the bleeding cured his meningitis—expelling it from his body—but instilled in him a fear of anything blue. More logical it would have been if Abel had grown to fear illness itself; paradoxically, he feared not the pathogens but the anti-pathogens.

more here.