Placing itself within the burgeoning field of world literary studies, the organising principle of this book is that of an open-ended dynamic, namely the cosmopolitan-vernacular exchange.
As an adaptable comparative fulcrum for literary studies, the notion of the cosmopolitan-vernacular exchange accommodates also highly localised literatures. In this way, it redresses what has repeatedly been identified as a weakness of the world literature paradigm, namely the one-sided focus on literature that accumulates global prestige or makes it on the Euro-American book market.
How has the vernacular been defined historically? How is it inflected by gender? How are the poles of the vernacular and the cosmopolitan distributed spatially or stylistically in literary narratives? How are cosmopolitan domains of literature incorporated in local literary communities? What are the effects of translation on the encoding of vernacular and cosmopolitan values?
Ranging across a dozen languages and literature from five continents, these are some of the questions that the contributions attempt to address.Book Details
Why is the Isle of Dogs in the Thames called Isle of Dogs? Did King Canute’s men bring English usage back to Jutland? How can we find out where English speakers suck their breath in to give a short response? And what did the Brontës do about dialect and think about foreign languages?
The answers are in this collection of empirical work on English past and present in honour of Nils-Lennart Johannesson, Professor of English Language at Stockholm University. The first five chapters report individual studies forming an overview of current issues in the study of Old and Middle English phonology, lexis and syntax. The next six look at Early Modern and Modern English from a historical point of view, using data from corpora, manuscript archives, and fiction. Two more look at the Old English scholar JRR Tolkien and his work. The remaining chapters discuss aspects of Modern English. Several use corpora to look at English usage in itself or in relation to Swedish, French, or Norwegian. The last three look at grammatical models, the pragmatics of second language use, and modern English semantics.Book Details
In Platonic Occasions, Richard Begam and James Soderholm reflect upon a wide range of thinkers, writers and ideas from Plato, Descartes and Nietzsche to Shakespeare, the Romantics and the Moderns — from Evil, Love and Death to Art, Memory and Mimesis. The dialogues suggest that Percy Shelley was right when he claimed “We are all Greeks,” and yet what have we learned about the initiatives of culture and literature since our classical predecessors? Begam and Soderholm’s ten dialogues function as a series of dual-meditations that take Plato as an intellectual godfather while presenting a new form of dialogic knowledge based on the friction and frisson of two minds contending, inventing and improvising. The authors discuss not only what is healthy and vigorous about Western culture but also consider where that culture is in retreat, as they seek to understand the legacy of the Enlightenment and its relation to the contemporary moment. Platonic Occasions is an experiment in criticism that enjoins the reader to imagine what the dialogic imagination can do when inspired by Platonic inquiry, but not bound by a single master and the singular mind. Beyond Socratic maieutics and Cartesian meditation is a form of intellectual interplay where it is impossible not to be of two minds.Book Details