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Cross-Language Poetics: Proposal for an Interdisciplinary Research Program

Norbert Francis (Flagstaff)



Abstract

For creative writers and for readers, opportunities to work with language in ways that engage two linguistic systems and/or two writing systems continue to expand with the growing influence of international and regional lingua francas. At the same time, we have witnessed the continuing development of literary creation in languages with fewer speakers, even in communities facing the outright erosion and replacement of their language. Alongside the tendencies of globalization, literature has also become more diverse, a new recognition of multilingualism and multiculturalism emerging among writers and readers alike. The special circumstances of composition and understanding that the different kinds of language and cultural interaction highlight also present us with an opportunity to study what it is that is fundamental in verbal art. After reviewing three historical examples of European origin (in Section 2) we will turn our attention to problems of language, writing system and poetry in East Asia (in Section 3). The examples from history will help us to put the current situation of multilingual and multicultural contexts for literature into a broader perspective. This is will allow us to return to consider a proposal for research on cross-language poetics.


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