[PAST EVENT] Multilingual Aesthetics in the Transnational Bildungsroman

November 8, 2018
3:30pm - 5pm
Washington Hall, Room 201
241 Jamestown Rd
Williamsburg, VA 23185Map this location
Access & Features
  • Open to the public

?In der Fremdsprache haben W?rter keine Kindheit?: If it is the case, as Emine Sevgi ?zdamar writes in her 1990 short story ?Grossvaterzunge,? that words in a foreign language have no childhood, what are the implications of an author writing a narrative about transnational childhood in a language he or she learned as a teenager or young adult? This talk investigates the multilingual aesthetics of German-language novels by ?zdamar, Yoko Tawada, and Sa?a Stani?i, three contemporary writers who learned German in adolescence or early adulthood and whose texts push the limits of German-language narration by thematizing the linguistic development of young protagonists coming of age in transnational and multilingual contexts. Despite a recent proliferation of scholarship on migration, multilingualism, and interculturality in German studies, these issues have rarely been considered within the context of coming-of-age narratives, a topic of increasing concern due to recent events around the world that have caused young people to migrate and seek asylum in historic numbers. By analyzing the protagonists? experiences of migration and language learning in an intersectional and narratological framework, the talk considers the expression and silencing of the language(s) of experience vis-?-vis the language(s) of narration to explore the themes of agency, power, subjectivity, and development.