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Borrowed Tongues: Life Writing, Migration, and Translation

Borrowed Tongues: Life Writing, Migration, and Translation

by Eva C. Karpinski, Evac Karpinski


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Borrowed Tongues is the first consistent attempt to apply the theoretical framework of translation studies in the analysis of self-representation in life writing by women in transnational, diasporic, and immigrant communities. It focuses on linguistic and philosophical dimensions of translation, showing how the dominant language serves to articulate and reinforce social, cultural, political, and gender hierarchies.

Drawing on feminist, poststructuralist, and postcolonial scholarship, this study examines Canadian and American examples of traditional autobiography, autoethnography, and experimental narrative. As a prolific and contradictory site of linguistic performance and cultural production, such texts challenge dominant assumptions about identity, difference, and agency.

Using the writing of authors such as Marlene NourbeSe Philip, Jamaica Kincaid, Laura Goodman Salverson, and Akemi Kikumura, and focusing on discourses through which subject positions and identities are produced, the study argues that different concepts of language and translation correspond with particular constructions of subjectivity and attitudes to otherness. A nuanced analysis of intersectional differences reveals gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, culture, and diaspora as unstable categories of representation.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781554583577
Publisher: Wilfrid Laurier University Press
Publication date: 06/01/2012
Series: Life Writing Series , #45
Pages: 282
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Eva C. Karpinski teaches feminist theory and autobiography in the School of Women’s Studies at York University. She has published articles in Literature Compass, Men and Masculinities, Studies in Canadian Literature, Canadian Woman Studies, and Resources for Feminist Research, among others. She is the editor of Pens of Many Colours: A Canadian Reader, a popular college anthology of multicultural writing.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents for
Borrowed Tongues: Life Writing, Migration, and Translation by Eva C. Karpinski

Migrations of Theories: Autobiography and Translation

1 Literacy Narratives:

Mary Antin and Laura Goodman Salverson

2 Immigrant Crypto(auto)graphy:

Akemi Kikumura and Apolonja Maria Kojder

3 Experimental Self-Translations:

Eva Hoffman and Smaro Kamboureli

4 Translation as Allegorical Metafiction:

Marlene Nourbese Philip and Jamaica Kincaid



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