Dr. Barbara Siller (Department of German), has co-published an edition on literary multilingualism.

Literarische (Mehr)Sprachreflexionen. Wien: Praesens, 2020. Barbara Siller, Sandra Vlasta (eds.)


Dr. Barbara Siller (Department of German), in collaboration with Dr. Sandra Vlasta (Comparative Literature / University of Mainz), has just published an edition on literary multilingualism.

The book titled Literarische (Mehr)Sprachreflexionen (publishing house praesens / Vienna) positions itself between academia and literary arts and focuses on the connection between texts by contemporary multilingual writers and scholarly works. While the writers reflect on their relationship with their languages, literary scholars respond to their work and debate literary multilingualism from a theoretical standpoint.

The book features original works from prominent multilingual authors from Germany, Austria and Switzerland such as Bachtyar Ali, Marica Bodrožić, Anne Cotten, Tomer Gardi, Olga Grjasnowa, Barbi Marković, José F. A. Oliver, Katja Petrowskaja, Dragica Rajčić, Ilma Rakusa, Saša Stanišić, Michael Stavarić, Sina Tahayori and of the artist Himani Gupta (cover).

The responses to the literary work include contributions by Natalia Blum-Barth (Mainz), Monika L. Behravesh (Kassel), Deirdre Byrnes (Galway), Núria Codina Solà (Leuven), Renata Cornejo (Ustí nad Labem), Anne Fleig (Berlin), Walter Schmitz (Dresden), Silke Schwaiger (Wien), Barbara Siller (Cork), Johann Strutz (Klagenfurt), Masahiko Tsuchiya (Nagoya), Sandra Vlasta (Mainz) and Stefan Weidner (Köln).

The volume features an essay by Barbara Siller in which she engages with the poetry of José F. A. Oliver arguing that his dialogical, pluricultural and plurilingual poetry not only entered contemporary German language and literature but also advanced it significantly. While the potential of literary multilingualism has been overlooked for some time, even by literary German scholars themselves, Siller’s contribution reflects the productivity of multilingualism for literature which, in the case of Oliver, has lead to a highly original and unique poetology.

Among several interviews the volume also displays two interviews carried out by Barbara Siller with the Iranian-Austrian writer Sina Tahayori and the Bosnian-German writer Saša Stanišić; the latter was awarded the German book prize in 2019 for his novel ‚Herkunft‘ (‚Origin‘).

Barbara Siller is Lecturer in the Department of German/University College Cork and is the Director of the MA Applied Linguistics Programme.


Sandra Vlasta is a Research Fellow at the Gutenberg-Institut für Weltliteratur und schriftorientierte Medien, Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft/Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz.

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