Accented America: The Cultural Politics of Multilingual Modernism (Modernist Literature and Culture)

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9780195337006: Accented America: The Cultural Politics of Multilingual Modernism (Modernist Literature and Culture)

American literary works written in the heyday of modernism between the 1890s and 1940s were playfully, painfully, and ambivalently engaged with language politics. The immigrant waves of the period fed into writers' aesthetic experimentation; their works, in turn, rewired ideas about national identity along with literary form. Accented America looks at the long history of English-Only Americanism-the political claim that U.S. citizens must speak a singular, shared American tongue-and traces its action in the language workshop that is literature. The broadly multi-ethnic set of writers brought into conversation here-including Gertrude Stein, Jean Toomer, Henry Roth, Nella Larsen, John Dos Passos, Lionel Trilling, Américo Paredes, and Carlos Bulosan-reflect the massive demographic shifts taking place during the interwar years. These authors share an acute awareness of linguistic standardization while also following the defamiliarizing sway produced by experimentation with invented and improper literary vernaculars. Rather than confirming the powerfully seductive subtext of monolingualism-that those who speak alike are ethically and politically likeminded-multilingual modernists compose literature that speaks to a country of synthetic syntaxes, singular hybrids, and enduring strangeness.

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About the Author:


Joshua L. Miller is Associate Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan.

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"Joining such works as Hana Wirth-Nesher's Call It English and Lawrence Rosenwald's Multilingual America, Joshua Miller's Accented America offers compelling readings of major Anglophone writers against the background of what Miller calls 'the genealogy of monolingualism' and the emergence of a vox Americana in a multilingual country in the period from 1898 to 1945. Readers interested in notions of 'the American language' will find Accented America fascinating." --Werner Sollors, author of Ethnic Modernism


"Accented America makes a brilliant case for the multilingual dimension of American modernist writing. By focusing on how authors imagined, negotiated, translated and represented the languages that shaped their worlds, Miller has greatly enriched ongoing debates about ethnicity, race and class in modernist fiction. He has demonstrated that attention to linguistic policies, strategies, and voices brings poetics and politics into sharper focus." --Hana Wirth-Nesher, author of Call It English


"A remarkable piece of scholarly work. It is a dense book that will dazzle its readers with its acute literary analyses...Accented America deserves to be unanimously praised as an outstanding contribution to the understanding of American modernism and language diversity."--Linguist List


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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2011. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.Accented America is a sweeping study of U.S. literature between 1890-1950 that reveals a long history of English-Only nationalism: the political claim that U.S. citizens must speak a nationally distinctive form of English. This perspective presents U.S. literary works written between the 1890s and 1940s as playfully, painfully, and ambivalently engaged with language politics, thereby rewiring both narrative form and national identity. The United States has always been a densely polyglot nation, but efforts to prove the existence of a nationally specific form of English turn out to be a development of particular importance to interwar modernism. If the concept of a singular, coherent, and autonomous American language seemed merely provocative or ironic in 1919 when H.L. Mencken emblazoned the phrase on his philological study, within a short period of time it would come to seem simultaneously obvious and impossible. Considering the continuing presence of fierce public debates over U.S. English and domestic multilingualisms demonstrates the symbolic and material implications of such debates in naturalization and citizenship law, presidential rhetoric, academic language studies, and the artistic renderings of novelists. Against the backdrop of the period s massive demographic changes, Accented America brings a broadly multi-ethnic set of writers into conversation, including Gertrude Stein, Jean Toomer, Henry Roth, Nella Larsen, John Dos Passos, Lionel Trilling, Americo Paredes, and Carlos Bulosan. These authors shared an acute sense of linguistic standardization during the interwar era and contend with the defamiliarizing sway of radical experimentation with invented and improper literary vernaculars. Mixing languages, these authors spurn expectations for phonological exactitude to develop multilingual literary aesthetics. Rather than confirming the powerfully seductive subtext of monolingualism-that those who speak alike are ethically and politically likeminded-multilingual modernists composed interwar novels that were characteristically American because, not in spite, of their synthetic syntaxes and enduring strangeness. Bookseller Inventory # AAV9780195337006

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2011. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. Accented America is a sweeping study of U.S. literature between 1890-1950 that reveals a long history of English-Only nationalism: the political claim that U.S. citizens must speak a nationally distinctive form of English. This perspective presents U.S. literary works written between the 1890s and 1940s as playfully, painfully, and ambivalently engaged with language politics, thereby rewiring both narrative form and national identity. The United States has always been a densely polyglot nation, but efforts to prove the existence of a nationally specific form of English turn out to be a development of particular importance to interwar modernism. If the concept of a singular, coherent, and autonomous American language seemed merely provocative or ironic in 1919 when H.L. Mencken emblazoned the phrase on his philological study, within a short period of time it would come to seem simultaneously obvious and impossible. Considering the continuing presence of fierce public debates over U.S. English and domestic multilingualisms demonstrates the symbolic and material implications of such debates in naturalization and citizenship law, presidential rhetoric, academic language studies, and the artistic renderings of novelists. Against the backdrop of the period s massive demographic changes, Accented America brings a broadly multi-ethnic set of writers into conversation, including Gertrude Stein, Jean Toomer, Henry Roth, Nella Larsen, John Dos Passos, Lionel Trilling, Americo Paredes, and Carlos Bulosan. These authors shared an acute sense of linguistic standardization during the interwar era and contend with the defamiliarizing sway of radical experimentation with invented and improper literary vernaculars. Mixing languages, these authors spurn expectations for phonological exactitude to develop multilingual literary aesthetics. Rather than confirming the powerfully seductive subtext of monolingualism-that those who speak alike are ethically and politically likeminded-multilingual modernists composed interwar novels that were characteristically American because, not in spite, of their synthetic syntaxes and enduring strangeness. Bookseller Inventory # AAV9780195337006

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Book Description Oxford University Press, USA. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 432 pages. Dimensions: 9.1in. x 6.1in. x 1.1in.American literary works written in the heyday of modernism between the 1890s and 1940s were playfully, painfully, and ambivalently engaged with language politics. The immigrant waves of the period fed into writers aesthetic experimentation; their works, in turn, rewired ideas about national identity along with literary form. Accented America looks at the long history of English-Only Americanism-the political claim that U. S. citizens must speak a singular, shared American tongue-and traces its action in the language workshop that is literature. The broadly multi-ethnic set of writers brought into conversation here-including Gertrude Stein, Jean Toomer, Henry Roth, Nella Larsen, John Dos Passos, Lionel Trilling, Amrico Paredes, and Carlos Bulosan-reflect the massive demographic shifts taking place during the interwar years. These authors share an acute awareness of linguistic standardization while also following the defamiliarizing sway produced by experimentation with invented and improper literary vernaculars. Rather than confirming the powerfully seductive subtext of monolingualism-that those who speak alike are ethically and politically likeminded-multilingual modernists compose literature that speaks to a country of synthetic syntaxes, singular hybrids, and enduring strangeness. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Bookseller Inventory # 9780195337006

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