Multilingual America: Transnationalism, Ethnicity, and the Languages of American Literature by Werner Sollors, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Multilingual America: Transnationalism, Ethnicity, and the Languages of American Literature

Multilingual America: Transnationalism, Ethnicity, and the Languages of American Literature

by Werner Sollors
     
 

Aside from the occasional controversy over "Official English" campaigns, language remains the blind spot in the debate over multiculturalism. Considering its status as a nation of non-English speaking aborigines and of immigrants with many languages, America exhibits a curious tunnel vision about cultural and literary forms that are not in English. How then have

Overview

Aside from the occasional controversy over "Official English" campaigns, language remains the blind spot in the debate over multiculturalism. Considering its status as a nation of non-English speaking aborigines and of immigrants with many languages, America exhibits a curious tunnel vision about cultural and literary forms that are not in English. How then have non-English speaking Americans written about their experiences in this country? And what can we learn-about America, immigration and ethnicity-from them?

Arguing that multilingualism is perhaps the most important form of diversity, Multilingual America calls attention to-and seeks to correct-the linguistic parochialism that has defined American literary study. By bringing together essays on important works by, among others, Yiddish, Chinese American, German American, Italian American, Norwegian American, and Spanish American writers, Werner Sollors here presents a fuller view of multilingualism as a historical phenomenon and as an ongoing way of life. At a time when we are just beginning to understand the profound effects of language acquisition on the development of the brain, Multilingual America forces us to broaden what in fact constitutes American literature.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
”This volume is invaluable and provides essential source as wake-up call for both professionals and general audiences to recognize that American literature is multilingual throughout its history and, if present demographic trends continue, will rapidly become more multicultural.”

-Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development

Library Journal
This unique anthology is the first compilation of American literature to collect works written in the United States from 1696 to 1994 in languages other than English and present them on the verso pages with English translations on the recto. As pointed out in the introduction by coeditor Sollors (English literature and Afro-American studies, Harvard), multilingual texts were common in older anthologies but have disappeared in more contemporary collections. This new volume may stimulate further studies and readers in this neglected aspect of American literature. As is usual with such efforts, not every work selected is worthwhile: of the 31 pieces chosen by the two editors and 32 contributors, roughly half are of excellent quality. American Indian dialects, French, Spanish, Polish, Welsh, Yiddish, Chinese, and Scandinavian are represented, and the selections encompass poetry, short stories, sermons, humor, and nonfiction. For academic library collections; primarily recommended as a text for college courses in alternative American literature. Morris Hounion, New York City Technical Coll. Lib., Brooklyn Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780814780923
Publisher:
New York University Press
Publication date:
08/01/1998
Pages:
416
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher

"This volume is invaluable and provides essential source as wake-up call for both professionals and general audiences to recognize that American literature is multilingual throughout its history and, if present demographic trends continue, will rapidly become more multicultural."

-Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development

Meet the Author

Werner Sollors is Henry B. and Anne M. Cabot Professor of English Literature and Professor of Afro-American Studies and Chair of the History of American Civilization Program at Harvard University. He is the author and editor of numerous books, including The Multilingual Anthology of American Literature, Theories of Ethnicity: A Classical Reader, and Multilingual America: Transnationalism, Ethnicity, and the Languages of American Literature, all available from NYU Press.

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