Aus unseren Neuerwerbungen – Sprachen und Literaturen allgemein 2023.3

Imag­i­nary lan­guages: myths, utopias, fan­tasies, illu­sions, and lin­guis­tic fic­tions
BuchcoverAn explo­ration of the prac­tice of invent­ing lan­guages, from speak­ing in tongues to utopi­an schemes of uni­ver­sal­i­ty to the dis­cov­er­ies of mod­ern lin­guis­tics.
In Imag­i­nary Lan­guages, Mari­na Yaguel­lo explores the his­to­ry and prac­tice of invent­ing lan­guages, from reli­gious speak­ing in tongues to polit­i­cal­ly utopi­an schemes of uni­ver­sal­i­ty to the dis­cov­er­ies of mod­ern lin­guis­tics. She looks for imag­ined lan­guages that are autonomous sys­tems, com­plete unto them­selves and meant for com­mu­nal use; imag­i­nary, and there­fore unlike both nat­ur­al lan­guages and his­tor­i­cal­ly attest­ed lan­guages; and prod­ucts of an indi­vid­ual effort to lay hold of lan­guage. Inven­tors of lan­guages, Yaguel­lo writes, are mad­ly in love: they love an object that belongs to them only to the extent that they also share it with a com­mu­ni­ty.
Yaguel­lo inves­ti­gates the sources of imag­i­nary lan­guages, in myths, dreams, and utopias. She takes read­ers on a tour of lan­guages invent­ed in lit­er­a­ture from the six­teenth to the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry, includ­ing that in More’s Utopia, Leibniz’s “alge­bra of thought,” and Bulwer-Lytton’s lin­guis­tic fic­tion. She exam­ines the lin­guis­tic fan­tasies (or mad­ness) of Geor­gian lin­guist Niko­lai Marr and Swiss medi­um Hélène Smith; and con­sid­ers the quest for the true philo­soph­i­cal lan­guage. Yaguel­lo finds two abid­ing (and some­what con­tra­dic­to­ry) forces: the diver­si­ty of lin­guis­tic expe­ri­ence, which stands opposed to uni­fy­ing endeav­ors, and, on the oth­er hand, fea­tures shared by all lan­guages (nat­ur­al or not) and their users, which jus­ti­fies the uni­ver­sal­ist hypoth­e­sis.
Recent years have seen some­thing of a boom in invent­ed lan­guages, whether arti­fi­cial lan­guages meant to facil­i­tate inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ca­tion or imag­ined lan­guages con­struct­ed as part of sci­ence fic­tion worlds. In Imag­i­nary Lan­guages (an updat­ed and expand­ed ver­sion of the ear­li­er Les Fous du lan­gage, pub­lished in Eng­lish as Lunatic Lovers of Lan­guage), Yaguel­lo shows that the inven­tion of lan­guage is above all a pas­sion­ate, dizzy­ing labor of love.
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Ultra­minor world lit­er­a­tures
BuchcoverThis path­break­ing col­lec­tion explores a new con­cept in world lit­er­a­ture stud­ies. Going beyond the bina­ry oppo­si­tion of “major” and “minor” lit­er­a­tures, the ultra­minor encom­pass­es the lit­er­a­tures of small­er but vibrant region­al and lin­guis­tic com­mu­ni­ties. Using cas­es as var­ied as the lit­er­a­tures of Mal­ta, Mau­ri­tius, and the Faroe Islands, con­tem­po­rary Nahu­atl nov­els, Kaf­ka in Prague, and Shake­speare in Naples, the ten essays in this vol­ume take up ques­tions of scale and cir­cu­la­tion, the inter­play of lan­guages and dialects, and ultra­minor writ­ers’ resis­tance to trans­la­tion and their reliance on it. Ultra­minor World Lit­er­a­tures will be of inter­ests to stu­dents and schol­ars of com­par­a­tive and world lit­er­a­ture and to any­one con­cerned with the ongo­ing life of unique cul­tur­al com­mu­ni­ties around the world.
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