International Perspectives on Multilingual Literatures: From Translingualism to Language Mixing

This carefully curated collection of essays charts interactions between majority languages (including English, French, German, Italian and Japanese) and minority dialects or languages pushed to the margins (including Arabic, Bengali, Esperanto, Neapolitan and Welsh) through a series of case studies of leading modern and contemporary cultural producers. The contributors, who work and study across the globe, extend critical understanding of literary multilingualism to the subjects of migration and the exophonic, self-translation and the aesthetics of interlinguistic bricolage, language death and language perseveration, and power in linguistic hierarchies in (post-)colonial contexts. Their subjects include the authors Julia Alvarez, Elena Ferrante, Jonathan Franzen, Amélie Nothomb, Ali Smith, Yoko Tawada, and Dylan Thomas, the film-maker Ulrike Ottinger, and the anonymous performers of Griko. The volume will be of interest to students of creative writing, literature, translation, and sociolinguistics.

Katie Jones is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of English Literature and Creative Writing at Swansea University. Her publications include “Sensational Pain: Filming the Eroticised Trauma Narrative” in Erotic Literature in Adaptation and Translation (2018) and “Bluebeardean Futures in Alex Garland’s Ex Machina” in gender forum (2016).

Julian Preece has been Professor of German Studies at Swansea University since 2007. He has published monographs on Günter Grass (2001; 2018), Veza Canetti (2007), and Baader-Meinhof and the novel (2012), as well as edited collections on the multilingual authors Franz Kafka (2002) and Ilija Trojanow (2013).

Aled Rees has held postdoctoral positions in the Department of Modern Languages, Translation and Interpreting at Swansea University and the Institute for Modern Languages Research, London. He is the author of “The Hispanic World in the Multilingual Fiction of Colm Tóibín: Language, Politics, and Identity” in the Journal of Modern Literature, and is currently researching the Colombian urban sociolect—parlache—in literature and translation.

“This book will be celebrated by readers grateful for its erudition and for its fine close readings. Readers will also be moved by the profoundly democratic culture that International Perspectives on Multilingual Literatures acknowledges and thereby promotes. To collect this broad sampling of contemporary essays that may otherwise have been mistaken as marginal contributions to the conventional categories of ‘natural’ language traditions is to re-set the cultural compass. It is to recognize and to name literary arts as non-‘natural’ constructions that use available materials, such as languages, to make new things and to make things seem new. As migrations continue to complicate the colour and the sound of native lands, to ignore the strong current of multilingualism today amounts to a xenophobic purism whose political names are not pretty. Colonial and post-colonial conditions are culturally impure, as are the experiences of migration in search of opportunity or just safety. And the accumulation of native, imposed, and adopted cultures takes the sound and the shape of layered languages. Good readers can hear one underneath the other. Good writers layer their style with enough foreignness to keep the text from congealing into something flat and easily assimilated. Assimilation here, and in general, means monolingualism which amounts to the defeat of nuance.”
Doris Sommer
Ira and Jewell Williams, Jr., Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures and of African and African American Studies, Harvard University

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ISBN: 1-5275-6017-1

ISBN13: 978-1-5275-6017-8

Release Date: 24th November 2020

Pages: 319

Price: £64.99