CFP: Fictionalizing Language Contact in Henry James (10/15/04; journal issue)

full name / name of organization: 
Gert Buelens
contact email:

In James's epistolary short story "A Bundle of Letters" the German and the
French characters write their letters in English just like the native
speakers of English. Essays are invited that address this striking lack of
linguistic mimetism (with subtle forms of compensation), as well as
questions such as:
. what is the language used "in reality" by the various American,
Italian, Parisian... characters in James's fictional worlds and how is their
communication reported textually (e.g. direct discourse in English or in
another language, with or without traces of linguistic interference
[code-blending, code-switching], or indirect discourse, translated or not,
with or without tags like "she said in French", etc.)?
. in other words, how about linguistic discrepancies between
(fictional) reality and its textual representation?
. are any linguistic mistakes made either accidentally (e.g. mistakes
due to James's imperfect use of foreign languages) or deliberately (e.g.
errors made by Italian characters speaking poor English, edited away or
. are there scenes or stories in which characters with multilingual
and intercultural skills are called upon to act as translator or interpreter
(in the wide sense of that term, think of community interpreting)?
. generally speaking, is linguistic difference glossed over and
marginalised (suspension of disbelief) or is it emphasised? where and why
would that be the case, e.g. is there a link with the intercultural
thematics of James?
. is multilingualism represented differently depending on where the
action is set (States versus Europe, e.g.)?
. with regard to such issues of (inter)linguistic representation, does
the oeuvre of James show a significant development or perhaps
. how about James's personal knowledge of foreign languages? how good
was it really? and what were his assumptions about the foreign-language
skills of his readership?
. how much attention have these language-related issues received in
Jamesian literary criticism?
. how have they been dealt with in translations of James's works (e.g.
French or Italian ones, or translations into non-European
languages/cultures) and in the film adaptations based on his novels?

Practical information
Linguistica Antverpiensia, new series (4-2005)
Issue title:
Fictionalizing Language Contact: Translation and Multilingualism
Issue CFP at
. Title and 20 line abstract by 15 October 2004,
. Article by 1 March 2005.
. English, French, German, Dutch, Spanish.
. The stylesheet can be found at
. Dirk Delabastita ( and Rainier Grutman
(, guest editors.
Editorial and Advisory Board:
. Can be found at

Dirk Delabastita (25 August 2004)
University of Namur

Those interested in contributing to this journal issue, may also wish to
consider presenting a draft of their paper in the "Jamesian Speech" workshop
at the University of Louisville Twentieth-Century Literature and Culture
Conference, February 24-26, 2005. See Any proposals for such a
presentation, ideally centering on post-1900 Jamesian texts, should be
addressed to by September 14, 2004.

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Received on Wed Sep 08 2004 - 19:40:38 EDT

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