Multilingual literature

“A unitary language is not something given, but is always in essence posited – and at every moment of its linguistic life it is opposed to the realities of heteroglossia.”
M. M. Bakhtin

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Vladimir Nabokov’s bilingual, Russian and English work first drew my interest in multilingual writing, a practice that is always intimately related to the notions of translation and self-translation. I have worked on multilingualism and self-translation in Vilém Flusser and Georges-Arthur Goldschmidt, as well as on their significance for literary Modernism and the notion of the Gesamtkunstwerk, also focusing on their multiple metaphoric role in the work of Julien Green, Louis Wolfson, Raymond Federman, Christine Brooke-Rose and Abdelkebir Khatibi.

nabokov.4[1]                                                                                             Vladimir Nabokov

I. Books

Metaphors of Multilingualism. Changing Attitudes Towards Language Diversity in Literature, Linguistics and Philosophy Routledge, London and New York, 2020.

This book is based in part on the course “Jenseits von Sprachgrenzen. Lernen von polyglotten Literaten” I taught in 2013 and 2015 at the University of St. Gallen (HSG) (Switzerland) and on an course I taught from 2014 to 2021 at the Università della Svizzera Italiana in Lugano (USI) to which I invited a series of translingual writers: Franco Biondi and Catalin Dorian Florescu (2014), Yoko Tawada and Ilma Rakusa (2015), Thomas Meyer and Beat Christen (2016), Zsuzsanna Gahse and Carmine Gino Chiellino (2017), Francesco Micieli (2018), and Matthias Nawrat (2019). 

Review: Metaphors of Multilingualism by R. Guldin in JMMD

II. Articles and Book Chapters

6. Metaphors of Literary Translingualism, in The Routledge Handbook of Literary Translingualism, ed. by Steve Kellman and Natasha Lvovich, Routledge 2022, p. 854-878.

5. Literary Translingualism in Switzerland: Pierre Lepori and Beat Christen, in: Flusser Studies 22, December 2016.

4. Polyglot Poetry. Multilingualism and the Aesthetics of the Gesamt-Kunstwerk, in: The Aesthetics of the Total Artwork. On Borders and Fragments, ed. by A. Finger and D. Follett, John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore 2011, p. 305-326.

3. ‘Das sonderbare Francodeutsch’. Georges-Arthur Goldschmidt: Übersetzer und Selbstübersetzer , in: Georges-Arthur Goldschmidt: 1/09 Text und Kritik, ed., by H. L. Arnold, 181, München 2009, p. 59-70.

2. ‘I believe that my two tongues love each other cela ne m’étonnerait pas’: Self-Translation and the Construction of Sexual identity, in: TTR, Vol. XX, n° 1, 2007, p. 193-214. www.erudit.org

1.Verschiedene Wege zum selben Ziel. Zur Bilingualität im Werk Georges-Arthur Goldschmidts, in: Kultur und Gespenster, Georges Arthur Goldschmidt, Number 5, 2007, p. 102-119.

DT1240418077_2009_georges_arthur_goldschmidt                                                                                               Georges-Arthur Goldschmidt

III. Conference Presentations

5. Metaphors of Multilingualism in Contemporary European Literature, Translation, Transnation: Europäische Übersetzungskulturen, Haus der Universität, September 27 to October 1, 2021, Heinrich Heine Universität Düsseldorf (online).

4. Zungen und Augen: Körpermetaphorik und Mehrsprachigkeit, Mehrsprachige Texte in der ‚deutschsprachigen‘ Literatur XIV. Kongress der Internationalen Vereinigung für Germanistik (IVG), Palermo, July 26 – August 1, 2021 (online).

3. The Multiligual Body of Language, Corpus Historicus. The Body in/of History, Sosnowiec (Poland), June 30th- July 1st 2017 (June 30th).

2. Metaphern der Mehrsprachigkeit, 21st World Congress of the International Comparative Literature Association (ICLA 2016), Universität Wien

1. Writing in a plurilingual context: Literary translingualism in Switzerland, Inverted Runes: New Perspectives on Literary Translingualism, Uppsala University, 4-5 September 2015.