Censorship and translingual literature

Sara De Balsi

Abstract


Translingual writers (Ausoni, 2010) are writers who produce literary works, exclusively or not, in a language other than their native one. Their experience of the “linguistic overconsciousness” (Gauvin, 1996), condemnation of every writer – particularly multilingual – to perceive language as an extraneous object, one to be (re)conquered, is exceptionally intense. The literature such writers produce has been defined as “a practice of doubt and discomfort” (Gauvin 1996). Such consciousness of language, along with the plurality of languages and literary spaces (at least two) in which translingual writers act, complicates their relationship with censorship including self-censorship.

From a political point of view, writing in a second language and in a foreign country can free a literary voice which had been censored in its original country; within the “adoptive” language, the relation between what “can” and what “cannot” be told and the confrontation between the mother tongue and other languages are closely related to the writers’ representations of language. In writers’ discourse, the second language often appears as the one which allows them to tell what was forbidden in (by) the mother tongue; sometimes, nevertheless, it appears as the triumph of lies. In other words, it can either be experienced as liberation of expression or as an additional, permanent limitation.

Through a choice of autobiographical contemporary translingual texts by Jorge Semprun, Agota Kristof and Nancy Huston, who all chose to write in French, I will present different possible relations between censorship and the subjective, emotional representations of language we find in their works.


Keywords


translingualism; francophone literatures; exile; self-translation

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13125/2039-6597/1393

NBN: http://nbn.depositolegale.it/urn%3Anbn%3Ait%3Aunica-16978

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