SOAS University of London

Prof. Francesca Orsini Inaugural Lecture: Literature in a multilingual society

Prof. Francesca Orsini Inaugural Lecture: Literature in a multilingual society

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Francesca Orsini

Date: 20 April 2016Time: 6:30 PM

Finishes: 20 April 2016Time: 9:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery

Type of Event: Inaugural Lecture

How does literature work in a multilingual society? And how can we know? Do separate language communities live in their sealed worlds, aware of each other only in a generic way, at the level of names of authors and titles rather than reading actual works? And if you are a literary multilingual, do the different literary tastes and traditions that you acquire live separately within your head to be cultivated, savoured and shared separately with different groups of like-minded people, or do they interact to produce new combinations and contaminations?

While the different language literatures are usually studied separately, carving out separate narratives, this lecture will argue that a comparative, multilingual approach is better suited to the actual dynamics of multilingual societies.

Francesca Orsini is Professor of Hindi and South Asian Literature at SOAS, where she teaches courses on Hindi language and literature, literary history, and the contemporary cultural politics of South Asia. Her research interests span modern and contemporary Hindi literature; Hindi and Urdu popular literature; book history; and the multilingual literary history of early modern and modern North India. She has newly embarked on an ERC-funded project on "Multilingual locals and significant geographies: for a bottom-up approach to world literature" which explores and compares the modern literary cultures of north India, Maghreb, and the Horn of Africa.

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Prof. Francesca Orsini Inaugural Lecture, Literature in a Multilingual Society

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