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Making sense of Caroline Bergvall’s poetry: The space between 'les langues' and Lecercle’s Philosophy of Nonsense

Making sense of Caroline Bergvall’s poetry: The space between 'les langues' and Lecercle’s Philosophy of Nonsense

Rabourdin, Caroline ORCID: 0000-0002-9694-0384 (2020) Making sense of Caroline Bergvall’s poetry: The space between 'les langues' and Lecercle’s Philosophy of Nonsense. Sense in Translation: Essays on the Bilingual Body. Advances in Translation and Interpreting Studies . Routledge, pp. 55-67. ISBN 978-0367266998 (doi:https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429294686-5)

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Abstract

"Caroline Bergvall is a French-Norwegian writer and artist who works across artforms, media and languages. She is based in the cities of London and Geneva. Her piece of multilingual poetry titled ‘Wall piece [front-back]’ was shown at the John Hansard Gallery in 2010, as part of her Middling English exhibition. Caroline Bergvall has an acute awareness of the physicality of language and her works often involve spatial and/or audio installations. The piece, though it has been reproduced in the exhibition catalogue, was initially to be experienced spatially and to be read on the walls of the gallery.

Linguist and Professor of English Jean Jacques Lecercle has written extensively about the physicality and practice of language. When most linguists see language as an empirical object of study, Lecercle calls for the study of language that speaks us as well as language that we speak, and gives parole its rightful place in linguistics. He writes of the ‘violence of language’ (Lecercle, 1990). He writes of ‘inhabiting’ language, in the phenomenological tradition. He also writes about Louis Wolfson, “who could not bear to hear or read his maternal tongue, English, and developed an intricate technique of instant translation according to sound”(Lecercle, 1990, p.63) which would spare him the pain of having to inhabit the English language.

In this paper, I will show that the space in between, for the multilingual, is where he/she no longer inhabits one langue or the other, where words become simple marks on a page, sounds in your ear, devoid of motivation and meaning. Using Lecercle’s 'Philosophy of Nonsense' (1994), I will show that the bilingual space in between is the space of non-sense, and that poetry can show us the way to get there."

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: Ch. 4
Uncontrolled Keywords: poetry, Jean-Jacques Lecercle, Caroline Bergvall, embodied language, nonsense, phenomenology, multilingualism, translation
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PC Romance languages
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > Department of Architecture & Landscape
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > School of Design
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 14 May 2020 09:33
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
Selected for REF2021: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/27615

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