Multilingual Novel

Anticlimax and the Real of World Literature

in Journal of World Literature

Abstract

This article proposes a model of world literature based on multilingualism, rather than translation or a series of monolingualisms. It analyzes three novels, positioned in uneven relationships to world literature: Ramon Saizarbitoria’s Hamaika pauso (Basque; Countless steps, 1995), Roberto Bolaño’s 2666 (Spanish; 2004), and Sol Ceh Moo’s Sujuy k’iin (Mayan; Unspoiled day, 2011). They can all be read as multilingual, and despite the differences of their contexts and the particular ways in which different languages intertwine in them, anticlimactic forms are an aesthetic solution they share. The model of world literature informed by this anticlimactic multilingualism could be called the Real of world literature, since it points to the traumatic core of world literature that disrupts the possibility of systematizing its literatures in a holistic structure.

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