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CfP: Mapping Multilingualism in 19th-Century European Literature Closing the Gap between Past and Present

Zuletzt aktualisiert: 28 Jun 2015

International Comparative Literature Association

XXIst Congress: “The Many Languages of Comparative Literature”

July 21 – July 27, 2016, University of Vienna, Austria

Olga Anokhina (CNRS, Paris)

Till Dembeck (University of Luxembourg)

Dirk Weissmann (University of Paris at Créteil - UPEC)


Scholarship on multilingual literature from Europe has up to now mostly focused either on pre-modern periods (e. g., Medieval and Renaissance multilingualism), or on avant-garde modernism, and on the present (e. g., postcolonial literature, literature of migration, etc.). At first sight, the 19th century does not seem to matter for the history of European literary multilingualism. This might seem logical since the 19th century is rightfully considered the epoch that most effectively promoted nationalist monolingualism, in the wake of the European reception of the Herderian theory of culture. Still, it is worth considering forms of multilingualism also in this period. Firstly, not all European countries have undergone a process of nationalization and monolingualization to the same extent. And secondly, recent studies, namely in sociolinguistics, have shown that monolingual norms can be implemented only by massive language-political intervention. Therefore, it is plausible to assume that some forms of multilingualism play a role even in the apparently most monolingual constellations of European literary history. A mapping of literary multilingualism in 19th-century European literature seems thus necessary.

This section proposes an investigation into 19th-century European literary multilingualism, particularly into the period from 1800 to 1880. All areas of European literature will be considered. The term ‘multilingualism’ as used in this section includes all kinds of code-mixing, either in single literary texts or in multiple texts produced by the same author.

Topics to be explored might be the following, amongst others:

-       multilingual authors in struggle with monolingual or national frameworks, multilingualism as a (hidden) background for national writers

-       literary subversions of monolingual norms, language normalization processes and literature

-       language contact and literary creativity

-       travel, exile, extraterritoriality and literary multilingualism

-       translation, heterolingualism and language hybridity

-       representations of multilingual realities in monolingual literary writing

-       translingual borrowing of literary, aesthetic and rhetoric structures and strategies

-       multilingualism in writers’ manuscripts, sketches, notebooks, etc. (critique génétique)

-       the heritage of pre-1800 multilingualism and links to modernist literary multilingualism (post-1880), lines of rupture and continuity

We invite proposals from all disciplines devoted to European (Romance, Germanic, Slavic, Baltic, Finno-Ugric ...) literature. Papers can be presented either in English, French or German.

Please submit your abstract online by August 31, 2015 via the conference website http://icla2016.univie.ac.at/abstract-submission/

You will need to create an account with the website and enter the seminar number 16680 into the “topic” field on the “add abstract” screen. The participants will be informed of their inclusion no later than December 31, 2015.