The antinomy of multilingual US literature

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After September 2001, among other effects that may or may not have been foreseen, the new direction of US national political imperatives revived support for foreign language learning as a component of human or cultural intelligence. Across the political spectrum, competence in languages other than English is now acknowledged as a serious weakness of educational, economic, and military resources in the United States. In the critical study of contemporary literature, the multilingual spirit of this new emphasis collides with the monolingual letter of the publication industry that produces books. In the production of research objects for scholars of contemporary literature, language difference, the ground zero of multiple language acquisition, is displaced by translative representation of language difference. To the extent that scholars understand themselves as analysts of already given objects, regarding intervention in the process of literary production as beyond their practical or desired ability, the premium placed on language difference here is insufficiently theorized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-224
Number of pages22
JournalComparative American Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Arts and Humanities


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