Languages of Exile

Englund & Olsson coverLanguages of Exile examines the relationship between geographic and linguistic border crossings in twentieth-century literature. Like no period before it, the last century was marked by the experience of expatriation, forcing exiled writers to confront the fact of linguistic difference. Literary writing can be read as the site where that confrontation is played out aesthetically – at the intersection between native and acquired language, between indigenous and alien, between self and other – in a complex multilingual dynamic specific to exile and migration.
The essays collected here explore this dynamic from a comparative perspective, addressing the paragons of modernism as well as less frequently studied authors, from Joseph Conrad and Peter Weiss to Agota Kristof and Malika Mokeddem. The essays are international in their approach; they deal with the junctions and gaps between English, French, German, Hungarian, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish and other languages. The literary works and practices addressed include modernist poetry and prose, philosophical criticism and autobiography, DADA performance, sound art and experimental music theatre. This volume reveals both the wide range of creative strategies developed in response to the interstitial situation of exile and the crucial role of exile for a renewed understanding of twentieth-century literature.

This is the first volume in the newly relaunched Exile Studies series, founded by Alexander Stephan and edited by Franziska Meyer.

Axel Englund is Lecturer in Aesthetics at Södertörn University, Sweden. His research centres on twentieth-century poetry and the interplay of music and literature. In 2011, he was an Anna Lindh Fellow at Stanford University and has held visiting scholarships at Columbia University and Free University Berlin.
Anders Olsson is Professor of Literature at Stockholm University, Sweden. His research focuses on the European poetic tradition from Romanticism to the present. He is also a literary critic, essayist and poet and in 2008 he was elected as a member of the Swedish Academy.

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