Textual Practice Pub Date : 2021-06-09 , DOI: 10.1080/0950236x.2021.1936760 Marta Figlerowicz, Matylda Figlerowicz
This essay uses the notion of multilingual style: stylistic games that emerge at the intersection of several languages and blur the distinctions between them, as an aesthetic and critical heuristic. Through a series of examples from some vastly different languages and geographies, we highlight this concept's usefulness to describing otherwise un-noted aesthetic phenomena that occur in a post-colonial, post-national, globalising literary and cultural sphere. We read texts that reject the native speaker as a linguistic and stylistic gold standard. We argue that to write as a multilingual stylist is to confront one's identity at its most creative, but also at its most vulnerable; it is to come up against the limits of national languages as sites of expression and creativity; it is also to come up against the limits of a human body as the site where different languages and cultures encounter each other, a site that such an encounter often demolishes both through the political violence that undergirds it and in the strain that it puts on our presuppositions of cultural self-knowledge and transparency to others. Finally, we ask what kind of audiences multilingual works presume and call for, and how we can be part of this audience as multilingual critics and readers.