Encounters with the Other. A Journey to the Limits of Language through Works by Rousseau, Defoe, Prévost and Graffigny.
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|Editeur||Rodopi - Brill|
|Distributeur||Editions de Boccard|
Encounters with the Other brings together a range of eighteenth-century texts in which the exploration of lingua incognita figures as a prominent topos. Drawing mostly on a corpus of French texts, but also including a number of works in English, Martin Calder attempts to realign well-known texts with more canonically marginalized works. The originality of the perspectives offered by this book lies in the comparative reading of works not previously conjoined. Encounters with otherness are marked by a transgression of the limits of language, occurring when language becomes alien or unfamiliar. Alterity may take various forms: a foreign language, a familiar language marked by the traits of foreignness, something unrecognizable as language, or even one’s own language breaking down, as in madness. Unfamiliar language may be produced by a foreigner, by a child who cannot yet speak, in extreme cases by something unrecognizably human, in all cases by an agency somehow marked by difference. Narratives of encounters with otherness have written into them narratives of the discovery of the self. Implicitly informed by the reading techniques associated with literary theory, Encounters with the Other offers an insightful commentary on issues surrounding colonialism, cultural difference, gender and the importance of language to identity. Martin Calder’s work challenges certain Eurocentric notions and exposes the problematic links between Enlightenment rationality and colonial expansion. This book is of interest both to undergraduate students and to academic researchers, and to a more general readership concerned with understanding the relationship between Europe, the ‘West’ and a wider world.
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