23 March 2010

Three quotes from J. K. Gayle

Here are quotes that begin "Literary Mulattos: Three Novelists' Translingual Mix for African American Writing and Criticism," by J. K. Gayle (2009 Australia Tarver Award for Critical Essay on Race, Post-colonialism, or Multi-Ethnic Studies):

"Phillis Wheatley, the first African American poet, switched languages, from Fulani to English, under duress, after being abducted from West Africa and sold to a Boston merchant at about the age of seven . . . . Yet for others translingualism is a way to vaunt their freedom." --Steven G. Kellman, Switching Languages

“'[T]ranslingualism' [should be] employed to describe writers who cross-culturally appropriate, criticize, and reinvent language. . . . Translingual, transport, transplant, translate: these terms may have something to do with a crossing over, a movement into a new state, a transformation. Does the translingual author . . . writing in English cross over, transform, become a new linguistic subject, attain a new discursive identity? Certainly the answer is 'yes,' and yet some writers . . . then cross back to the 'old' language." -- Martha J. Cutter, Review of Switching Languages

"The globalization of cultures . . . presupposes translingualism, or . . . [more specifically] an interlation, a contrastive juxtaposition of two or more apparently identical texts running simultaneously in two different languages — for example, a poem of Joseph Brodsky in the Russian original and in English autotranslation. Interlation is a multilingual variation on the same theme, where the roles of 'source' and 'target' languages are not established or are interchangeable. One language allows the reader to perceive what another language misses or conceals. . . . Robert Frost said that poetry is what gets lost in translation. By contrast, interlation increases, indeed doubles the benefits of poetry." -- Mikhail Epshtein, "Interlation vs. Translation: Stereotextuality"

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