Festschrift für Prof. Andrzej Kątny zum 65. Geburtstag
Edited By Katarzyna Lukas and Izabela Olszewska
Zur Mehrsprachigkeit bei W.G. Sebald: Katarzyna Lukas
Zur Mehrsprachigkeit bei W.G. Sebald1
Multilingualism in W.G. Sebald. – The aim of the present paper is to examine different forms of multilingualism and their role(s) in W.G. Sebald’s poetry and prose. Multilingualism is considered in several meanings: as an individual’s ability to master numerous languages (psycholinguistic approach), as a multiplicity of natural languages (linguistic approach), and – from the perspective of literary theory – as a variety of styles, genres or quotations from other authors, synonymous with intertextuality. In W.G. Sebald’s work, all three meanings of multilingualism are relevant. Firstly, the autor describes Sebald’s own multilingualism as a German emigrant in England, as well as the polyglotism of his literary characters and thus as a literary subject. Secondly, multilingualism – appearing as single words, phrases and longer fragments in foreign languages inserted in Sebald’s own texts – is considered as a signal of intertextual relations both between Sebald and other writers and within his own work. The analysis of selected prose works and poems shows that Sebald applies elements of foreign languages (multilingualism in a linguistic sense) to create coherence and intertextuality within his own oeuvre (multilingualism as a phenomenon of literary theory). However, as multilingualism in the lives of Sebald’s “emigrants” is usually connected with trauma, suffering, root- and homelessness instead of intercultural competence providing a sense of harmony, it also becomes a means to criticise the modern culture and civilisation.
1. Mehrsprachigkeit als linguistisches und literarisches Phänomen