Challenging the Myth of Monolingualism


Despite the fact that transnational movement and intercultural encounter are the signs of our present time, questions of belonging and legitimation of citizenship in most West-European countries still largely depend on monolingual norms and the problematic conflation of the idea of a national language with that of the mother tongue. This volume explores literary negotiations of and challenges to this powerful myth of monolingualism in various, mostly West-European cultural contexts. The focus of these explorations ranges from the ethics of mono- and multilingualism and the persistent ideology of nativity and the native speaker, to multilingual strategies and the trials and tribulations of translating multilingual texts. The volume also contains contributions by awarded literary writers, such as Yoko Tawada, Ramsey Nasr, Chika Unigwe and Fouad Laroui: texts that demonstrate the creative multiplicity of language and the disruptive potential of multilingualism in action.
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Biographical Note

Liesbeth Minnaard is Assistant Professor of Literary Studies at Leiden University.
Till Dembeck is Research Scientist of German Literature at the University of Luxembourg.

Table of contents

Liesbeth Minnaard and Till Dembeck: Introduction: How to Challenge the Myth of Monolingualism?
David Gramling: Getting up onto Monolingualism: Barthes, Kafka, Myth
Fouad Laroui: A Case of ‘Fake Monolingualism’: Morocco, Diglossia and the Writer
Madeleine Kasten: Moroccan Literature: A Monster Yet To Be Born? A Response to Fouad Laroui
Till Dembeck and Georg Mein: Philology’s Jargon: How Can We Write Post-Monolingually?
Esther Kilchmann: Monolingualism, Heterolingualism, and Poetic Innovation: On Contemporary German Literature, with a Side Glance to the Seventeenth Century
Ramsey Nasr: mi have een droom (with an Introduction by Liesbeth Minnaard)
Liesbeth Minnaard: About Being Representative: Ramsey Nasr’s Poetic
Performances as Antwerp City Poet and Dutch Poet Laureate
Chika Unigwe: Eèchtenteèchtig (with an Introduction by Elisabeth Bekers)
Elisabeth Bekers: “Bearing Gifts of Words”: Multilingualism in the Fiction of Flemish-Nigerian Writer Chika Unigwe
Thomas Ernst: Brussels is Europe: Koen Peeters’ Grote Europese Roman as Multilingual Literature
Maria Boletsi: The Barbarism(s) of Multilingualism: Outweirding the Mainstream in Guillermo Gómez-Peña’s Performance Literature
Yoko Tawada: The Script of a Turtle or the Problem of Translation
Bettina Brandt: The Bones of Translation: Yoko Tawada’s Translational Poetics
The Contributors


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