Multilingual Philology and National Literatures: Re-Reading Classical Texts
Internationales Symposium | Université du Luxembourg | 8.–10. September 2016
Aus der Konferenzankündigung:
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 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.
Thursday, 8 September 2016
14:00 Introduction (Till Dembeck)
15:00 Amelie Bendheim (U Luxembourg): Mehrsprachigkeit als höfisches Ideal in mittelalterlichen Texten – vom Kulturausweis zur diplomatischen Praxis
16:30 Robert Stockhammer (LMU München): Lehrjahre der National- und Wanderjahre der Weltliteratur. Zur Sprachigkeit von Goethes Wilhelm Meister-Romanen
17:30 Tanvi Solanki (Cornell U): Herder’s Comparative Translations and the Emergence of a German Meter
Friday, 9 September 2016
9:30 Dirk Weissmann (U of Paris at Créteil): When Austrian Classical Tragedy goes Intercultural. On the Metrical Simulation of Linguistic Otherness in Franz Grillparzer’s The Golden Fleece (1820)
10:30 Valerij Gretchko (U Tokyo): Pluribus in Unum: A. S. Pushkin and the formation of Russian literary language
12:00 Remigius Bunia (Berlin): The Glister of Rare Words. The Difference between Archaisms and Loanwords in Annette von Droste-Hülshoff’s Poems
14:00 Anna Hodel (U Basel): South Slavic National Romanticism(s): from transnational to imperial perspectives on multilingualism
15:00 Ojars Lāms (U of Latvia): Multilinguistic Space in Latvian Epic “Lāčplēsis” (“Bearslayer”) by Andrejs Pumpurs
16:30 Raluca Radulescu (U Bucharest): Der rumänische Nationaldichter Mihai Eminescu: deutsche Dichtung auf Rumänisch?
17:30 Brigitte Rath (FU Berlin): “…the simplifying glance of habit.” Re-reading Hofmannsthal’s “Ein Brief” as original translation
Saturday, 10 September 2016
9:30 Ruth Clemens (Leeds Trinity U): ‘Feeble’ Translations: The Waste Land’s Endnotes as Nomadic Paratext
10:30 Māra Grudule (U of Latvia): A. Čaks “Mūžības skartie” / “Touched by Eternity” (1937–39) re-read
12:00 Peter Brandes (RU Bochum): Encountering the Multilingualism of Lutherdeutsch in Thomas Mann’s Doktor Faustus
13:00 Johannes Endres (UC Riverside): Heterotopian Multilingualism: The Westinghouse Time Capsule (1939)