Monolingualism Of The Other: Or, The Prosthesis Of Origin (Cultural Memory In The Present)

Monolingualism Of The Other: Or, The Prosthesis Of Origin (Cultural Memory In The Present)

Monolingualism of the Other: or, The Prosthesis of Origin (Cultural Memory in the Present)

“I have but one language―yet that language is not mine.” This book intertwines theoretical reflection with historical and cultural particularity to enunciate, then analyze this conundrum in terms of the author’s own relationship to the French language. The book operates on three levels. At the first level, a theoretical inquiry investigates the relation between individuals and their “own” language. It also explores the structural limits, desires, and interdictions inherent in such “possession,” as well as the corporeal aspect of language (its accents, tones, and rhythms) and the question of the “countability” of languages (that is, their discreteness or factual givenness). At the second level, the author testifies to aspects of his acculturation as an Algerian Jew with respect to language acquisition, schooling, citizenship, and the dynamics of cultural-political exclusion and inclusion. At the third level, the book is comparative, drawing on statements from a wide range of figures, from the Moroccan Abdelkebir Khatibi to Franz Rosenzweig, Gershom Scholem, Hannah Arendt, and Emmanuel Levinas. Since one of the book’s central themes is the question of linguistic and cultural identity, its argument touches on several issues relevant to...

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