Réflexions théoriques et études de cas
Edited By Britta Benert
Aucun ouvrage existant n’est vraiment centré sur ce tournant du siècle, moment où la doxa de pureté de la langue et les esprits nationalistes tendent à promouvoir, voire à imposer l’idéal du monolinguisme et où, parallèlement, persiste à travers l’Europe et le monde un nombre important de situations et d’expérimentations diverses à contre-courant du monolinguisme puriste.
Fruit d’un colloque qui s’est tenu dans le cadre du XX
Notes on American Literary Multilingualism around 1900
My goal in what follows is to describe some aspects of American literary multilingualism around 1900 (understanding “around” in a generous way). My chief means towards that goal will be an extended description of passages in two multilingual works from that period, each understood as representing one mode of literary multilingualism both in that period and generally: a passage from T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, published in 1922, and a passage from Sholem Aleichem’s Motl the Cantor’s Son, published in 1916. These descriptions will be prefaced and followed by some general remarks about the two modes of writing in general.
Having no good name for either mode, I use several imperfect ones. I call the mode represented here by Eliot “individual,” “self-centered” (not a term of disparagement, just one of description), and “lyric.” Whatever its name, its excellence is its capacity to portray the mind of the author in its allusive, associative, polyglot freedom. I call the mode represented here by Sholem Aleichem “collective,” “other-centered,” “epic.” Its excellence is its capacity to portray a collective experience, in particular the experience of a group speaking language x that encounters a group speaking language y. Examples of such encounters in the American domain: those between European explorers (invaders, colonizers) and Native Americans, those between slaves and slaveholders, and those between immigrants and locals.
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