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Inhaltsangabe: How do (im)migrant writers negotiate their representation of a multilingual world for a monolingual audience? Does their English betray the presence of another language, is that other language erased, or does it appear here and there, on special occasions for special reasons? Do words and meanings wander from one language and one self to another? Do the psychic and cultural worlds of different languages split apart or merge? What is the aesthetic effect of such wandering, splitting, or merging? Usually described as "code-switches" by linguists, fragments of other languages have wandered into American literature in English from the beginning. Wanderwords asks what, in the memoirs, poems, essays, and fiction of a variety of twentieth and twenty first century writers, the function and meaning of such language migration might be. It shows what there is to be gained if we learn to read migrant writing with an eye, and an ear, for linguistic difference and it concludes that, freighted with the other-cultural meanings wrapped up in their different looks and sounds, wanderwords can perform wonders of poetic signification as well as cultural critique. Bringing together literary and cultural theory with linguistics as well as the theory and history of migration, and with psychoanalysis for its understanding of the multilingual unconscious, Wanderwords engages closely with the work of well-known and unheard-of writers such as Mary Antin and Eva Hoffman, Richard Rodriguez and Junot Diaz, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha and Bharati Mukherjee, Edward Bok and Truus van Bruinessen, Susana Chavez-Silverman and Gustavo Perez-Firmat, Pietro DiDonato and Don DeLillo. In so doing, a poetics of multilingualism unfolds that stretches well beyond translation into the lingual contact zone of English-with-other-languages that is American literature, belatedly re-connecting with the world.
Rezension: The title already gives away the generous theme of this book: that literature worth reading today is restless, non-conformist, adventurous, and practically impossible to catch up with, as vocabulary and grammar slip by language border controls to form neologisms and new paths. Admirably researched and clearly articulated, Maria Roth-Lauret's Wanderwords will stretch academic writing to acknowledge and to participate in the aesthetic and philosophical bounty of bi and multi-lingualism. -- Doris Sommer, Ira and Jewell Williams Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures and African and African American Studies and Director of the Cultural Agents Initiative, Harvard University, USA Maria Lauret's Wanderwords, its title derived from Quintilian, is anything but a dry exercise in rhetoric. Focusing on the many non-English words and phrases that have migrated into and become part of English-language texts, Wanderwords offers an unusual and fascinating entry point to major works by American writers who are concerned with migration and come from various migratory family backgrounds. Meticulously researched, Wanderwords examines major works from Mary Antin to Junot Diaz and from Richard Rodriguez to Bharati Mukherjee. In her lively prose Maria Lauret conveys many fresh and often paradoxical insights, as she shows her audience how to read creatively and multllingually. Wanderwords presents American literature in a new key. Werner Sollors, Henry B. and Anne M. Cabot Professor of English Literature and Professor of African and African American Studies, Harvard University, USA From the formation of her argument, to the selection and reading of texts, Wanderwords is an original and brilliant application of critical acumen. After raising important questions, the answers Lauret pursues provide us with innovative ways of reading bi- and multilingual literature. This work transcends previous efforts in literary criticism and the art of translation to make sense out of the other languages that have appeared in U.S. American literature. New ideas require new words so Lauret forges the intriguing "linguascape," along with phrases like heterolingual aesthetics. Her style of writing is engaging and creates readings that turn tired heads in new directions. This is criticism with a future, making new ways of reading old texts that have become, if not part of the mainstream canon, then certainly part of the American ethnic canon. She also introduces new and previously untouched works that resonate well in the critical tune she composes. Lauret teaches us a way of reading multicultural literature that should become basic practice for future responses to bi- and multi-lingual texts. Her sharp and smart insights are savvy to the way languages work to divide, conquer and ultimately reconnect us to the humanity we all share. Fred Gardaphe, Distinguished Professor English and Italian American Studies, Queens College, CUNY, USA An impressive and well-written book that will be a major contribution to American literary studies and beyond. Maria Lauret deploys the term 'wanderwords' to weave a conceptually rich analysis of writers and writing where the movements and relationships between languages are given their rightful, central place. Bill Marshall, Professor of Comparative Literary & Cultural Studies, University of Stirling, UK Maria Lauret's Wanderwords: Language Migration in American Literature is a fascinating exploration of the ways in which exciting new interpretative insights can be gained from a multilingual poetics. A must for all libraries. Susan Castillo Street, Harriet Beecher Stowe Emeritus Professor of American Studies, King's College London, UK Lauret argues that words have 'immigrated' into the English of American literature-'wanderwords' is her translation of Quintilian's term 'verba peregrina.' ... The introduction is wide-ranging and cites various terms that might be synonymous, or overlapping. Lauret uses several postmodern literary and linguistic theories to assert how employing other languages is not code-switching but instead multilingual aesthetics that disrupt and shift power structures. Wanderwords starts with early-20th-century authors, then settles on late-20th-century "brown" writers (Richard Rodriguez's term). Interesting, dense, and profoundly nonlinear, the book includes an excellent bibliography and sources. Summing Up: Recommended. With reservations. Graduate students, researchers, faculty. -- R. Shapiro, City University of New York CHOICE
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