Hubert Spiegel

1 January 2009 at 5:50 PM | Posted in News | Leave a comment

In the conference cited in earlier posts, Hubert Spiegel, editor of the literary section of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, is reported to have “raised the question of whether there is a kind of ‘division of labour between languages’ for these [second-language] authors: one is for writing, and one for everyday life.” This sounds suspiciously like the old issue about poetic diction not being like ordinary language, raised by, among others, William Wordsworth. If a poet is a person speaking to other persons (the original formulation “He is a man speaking to men” was sexist, so forgive the editorial revision), then there should not be two languages. More important, writing in a second language automatically changes the readership of the work: now, the author is writing not for her/his co-language speakers, but for a different group of persons altogether.


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