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Ouyang, Wen-Chin (2021) 'Configurations of Multilingualism and World Literature.' In: Hiddleston, Jane and Ouyang, Wen-Chin, (eds.), Multilingual Literature as World Literature. London: Bloomsbury, pp. 282-303. (Bloomsbury Literature as World Literature)

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This chapter moves away from the familiar paradigm of world literature that locates international circulation of literary works in translation. Instead it explores the diverse avenues of aesthetic encounters in the divergent configurations of multilingualism in the literary texts of the 18th and 19th centuries. It is interested in the multilingual poetics generated in two Arabic literary texts, the eighteenth-century al-Badr al-sāfir (1781-1783) by Moroccan al-Miknāsī and the nineteenth-century al-Sāq ʿalā al-sāq (1855) by Lebanese al-Shidyāq. These two works are re-writings of the two author’s earlier travelogues, the former to Spain, Malta and the Kingdom of Sicily and Naples and the latter to Malta, France and Britain, in the classical Arabic maqāma genre within the frame-within-frame narrative structure of The 1001 Nights. The two works creatively melo-dramatize encounters with the strange, including modern cultural institutions expressed in Italian, Maltese and Spanish in al-Miknāsī, and English, French and Maltese in al-Shidyāq, and playfully engage with aesthetics inherent in different combinations of European languages in two different eras and regions, each producing its own poetics. The poetics of the each text is singular because the configuration of multilingualism in each text is unique. World literature, this chapter argues, thrives in language encounters, which are re-enacted in literary texts. It demonstrates that multilingualism in a text circulates aesthetics across languages, literary traditions and cultures, and must be taken into consideration in theorizing world literature.

Item Type: Book Chapters
Keywords: World literature, multilingualism, configurations of multilingualism, languages in dialogue, word, image, sound, writing, reading, performance
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Languages, Cultures & Linguistics
Subjects: P Language and Literature
ISBN: 9781501360091
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2020 15:06
Related URLs: https://www.blo ... -9781501360091/ (Publisher URL)
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council

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