14 February 2009

American literature in languages other than English

Here is a 1999 account from the Harvard University Gazette about Werner Sollors, now Henry B. and Anne M. Cabot Professor of English Literature, Professor of African and African American Studies, and Associate of Pforzheimer House (Director of Graduate Studies) at Harvard University:

"Sollors is among a small cadre of scholars who specialize in American literature written in languages other than English. It is, he says, a field shrugged at by combatants in the canon wars -- which makes it all the more appealing to him. 'There isn't already a whole set of opinions, pro and con,' he said, adding that, although he thinks multilingual literature is a discipline waiting to proliferate, his task is to pursue the texts and bibliography and see what happens."

Has the field of multilingual literary studies expanded since 1999? Is the field still marginalized in the world of literary criticism? Are more American writers now writing in languages other than English? Are more critics (American or not) writing about Americans writing in languages other than English? Calling Sollors or anyone else interested in debunking the notion that American literature is only in English!

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