American Babel

American Babel

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If ever there was a polyglot place on the globe (other than the Tower of Babel), America between 1750 and 1850 was it. Here three continentsa€”North America, Africa, and Europea€”met and spoke not as one, but in Amerindian and African languages, in German and English, Spanish, French, and Dutch. How this prodigious multilingualism lost its voice in the making of the American canon and in everyday American linguistic practice is the problem American Babel approaches from a variety of angles. Looking at the first Arabic-language African-American slave narrative, at quirks of translation in Greek-American bilingual books, and at the strategies of Yiddish women poets and Welsh-American dramatists, contributors show how linguistic resistance opposes the imperative of linguistic assimilation. They address matters of literary authority in Irish Gaelic writing, Creole novels, and the multiple voices of the Zuni storyteller; and in essays on Haitian, Welsh, Spanish, and Chinese literatures, they trace the relationship between domestic nationalism and immigrant internationalism, between domestic citizenship and immigrant ethnicity.CHAPTER THREE aquot;And in a Christian Language They Sold Meaquot;: Messages Concealed in a Slavea#39;s Arabic-Language Autobiographical Narrative ALA ALRYYES Omar Ibn Said begins his Life with a surprising demurral: aquot;I cannot write my life, anbsp;...

Title:American Babel
Author:Marc Shell
Publisher:Harvard University Press - 2002


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