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Ergebnisanzeige "Multilingual Philology and National Literatures: Re-Reading Classical Texts"
RessourcentypCall for Papers
TitelMultilingual Philology and National Literatures: Re-Reading Classical Texts
BeschreibungMultilingual Philology and National Literatures: Re-Reading Classical Texts
An International Symposium
Université du Luxembourg, 8–10 September 2016

Concept: Till Dembeck

Scholarship on literary multilingualism usually operates with the clear-cut opposition between monolingualism on the one hand, and multilingualism on the other. The study of individual multilingual texts then often culminates in the assertion that these texts pose a subversive challenge to monolingualism. Certainly, it is quite often a subversive act to make literary use of linguistic diversity, at least in European literatures starting from the end of the 18th century. And certainly, monolingualism has developed a politico-cultural force that makes it appear to be an inevitable disposition of discourse. It is not surprising that focussing on the subversive dimension of literary multilingualism, as opposed to ‘official’ monolingualism, has triggered a lot of fascinating research.

Still, this strain of argument has at least two drawbacks, the first of which is that it does not reach very far historically: in many respects, the opposition between monolingualism and multilingualism is an invention of the 18th or 19th century. Secondly, and more importantly, the concentration on the subversive moment of multilingualism in literature leads scholarship to underestimate the degree to which seemingly monolingual literary texts comprise linguistic diversity – and to which, accordingly, multilingualism has shaped the seemingly monolingual literary traditions of modern Europe.

The planned symposium aims at enhancing our understanding of literary history, and particularly of the constitution of national literatures, by paying close attention to the more or less subliminal forms of multilingualism at the very heart of the monolingual classics. It thereby wants to re-define the study of multilingual literature as a ‘multilingual philology,’ starting out with the hypothesis that it is the normal condition of texts, human beings and societies to be multilingual; that there are many and very divers forms of multilingualism, of which even monolingualism can even be considered to be just one form; and that therefore the analysis and interpretation of linguistic diversity in its various forms can be fruitfully applied to all kinds of text.

In focussing on both the implicit and explicit facets of worldliness and diversity in literary texts, this approach will be a powerful alternative to the comparative study of (world) literature. The proposed methodology is twofold: In order to uncover the hidden traces and effects of multilingualism also in seemingly monolingual literary texts, it will be necessary, on the one hand, to relate the intrinsic dialectal, sociolectal, stylistic, rhetorical, and aesthetic diversity of literary texts to linguistic differences of more explicit nature, such as the differences between mutually unintelligible standardized national languages. On the other hand, one must describe the literary use of different forms of language difference before the background of linguistic, cultural and social background and thus to assess the culture-political agency of the respective texts.

Scholars specialized in any area of literary studies are invited to propose multilingual readings of texts that have achieved a central position in one of the national literary traditions of Europe, as for example: Dante’s "Commedia", Shakespearean drama, Mickiewicz’s "Pan Tadeusz", Goethe’s "Wilhelm Meister"-novels, Pushkin’s "Evgenij Onegin", the novels of Balzac’s "Comédie humaine", Pumpurs’ "Lāčplēsis", etc.

Please send proposals (500 words) by 31 March 2016 to: Response will be given within two weeks after this date. The University of Luxembourg will cover travel costs for all accepted participants.

Quelle der BeschreibungInformation des Anbieters
PersonName: Till Dembeck 
Ediert von  H-Germanistik
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