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Nancy Huston's (literary) bilingualism: a condition of writing

Grant number: 13/07512-7
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2013
Effective date (End): December 31, 2013
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Literature - Modern Foreign Languages
Principal Investigator:Maria Angélica Deângeli
Grantee:Gabriela Oliveira da Silva
Host Institution: Instituto de Biociências, Letras e Ciências Exatas (IBILCE). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de São José do Rio Preto. São José do Rio Preto , SP, Brazil


The present research aims to analyze the issues of identity and subjectivity of a bilingual person, questioning the traditional concepts of bilingualism and bringing together the intersubjective notions of fragmentation linked to this person divided between (two) languages. The issues related to globalization and the imposition of one language on speakers of other languages made the problem of difference to emerge as a relevant phenomenon in language studies. In this situation, we believe that it is necessary to rethink the traditional concept of bilingualism and we intend to explore how the issues relating to the constitution of that person's identities are closely linked to the problem of language. With the aim of elaborating and drawing up a reflection on, and for the study of language in a way that emphasizes the importance and questions, the concept of identity, this study aims to investigate, based on the concepts of Stuart Hall (1992/2000), Jean-Luc Nancy (2010) and Charles Melman (1992), a text that discusses the situation of a bilingual person from its spatial displacement, i.e., of its condition of (geographical) exile. This is the "autobiographical" essay entitled Nord perdu, by the Canadian writer Nancy Huston. In particular, we intend to examine whether and how the bilingualism in the writings of Nancy Huston is a reflection on the concept of "literary bilingualism" and pointing to the consequent relationship between bilingualism and identity(s) on the one hand, and, on the other hand, contrasting the experience of bilingualism as narrated in the work studied with the traditional concept of bilingualism. We hope to contribute to the studies on the issues of diverse identities linked to the issue of language, more specifically, the phenomena related to bilingualism, as presented by the writings of Nancy Huston. (AU)

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