Aus unseren Neuerwerbungen – Sprachen und Literaturen allgemein 2023.12

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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The ani­mal oth­er in nar­ra­tives of con­quest: uncan­ny encoun­ters
BuchcoverThe Ani­mal Oth­er in Nar­ra­tives of Con­quest: Uncan­ny Encoun­ters inves­ti­gates the func­tions of non­hu­man ani­mal imagery in diverse nar­ra­tives of the Con­quest of the Amer­i­c­as. The author’s expli­ca­tions of film, poet­ry, lit­er­ary and pop­u­lar fic­tion, and theme park spaces draw on post­colo­nial and ani­mal the­o­ry, decon­struc­tive and Freudi­an lit­er­ary crit­i­cism, and rad­i­cal social the­o­ry. She argues that ani­mals in these texts func­tion on two lev­els: while they play a key role in the devel­op­ment of both Indige­nous and Euro­pean char­ac­ters, depic­tions of their treat­ment and sym­bol­ic charge con­sis­tent­ly work to dis­rupt nar­ra­tives that seek to present the Con­quest as a mutu­al­ly ben­e­fi­cial „encounter“ between two cul­tures. The close read­ings of ani­mal imagery in texts rang­ing from Pablo Neruda’s poet­ry to the ani­mat­ed film The Road to El Dora­do rep­re­sent a fresh approach to ques­tions sur­round­ing the depic­tions of Indige­nous Amer­i­cans and the moti­va­tions, tac­tics, and last­ing con­tri­bu­tions of the invad­ing cul­ture.
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