31 December 2008
The report on the conference cited earlier says: "Kristina Goikoetxea Langarika explained that in addition to the practical reasons for her writing in Dutch – the language of the country where she lives and wants to find her audience as an author – there were also psychological reasons for her choice of language. For example, she explained, she writes in the second language 'with a certain distance', especially when she writes about her home country. But the internalisation of this 'objectivity' also leads to a change of perspective on the conditions and positions from which the author tells her stories or has a character tell a story." Again, a crucial question arises: does that "distance" not constitute a weakness in literariness? In terms of the classic Chinese definition of literature (shih yen chih), how can a writer truly express the self if the language of the self is not the language of the expression? Or in Greek terms, is writing in a second language twice (or more) removed from the reality of the self?