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Stockhammer, Robert (2015): Wie deutsch ist es? Glottamimetische, -diegetische, -pithanone, und -aporetische Verfahren in der Literatur. In: Arcadia : internationale Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft, Vol. 50, No. 1: pp. 146-172


Recent research concerning the linguality of literature has yielded the insight that multilingual texts are in fact the rule, whereas monolinguality (in the pre-Derridean sense of the word: homogenously English, purely German, etc.) is the exception. Until now, however, no classification of different types of mutlilinguality has been established. In the present article, I propose such a classification and test it, primarily by using a sample of narrative texts by W. G. Sebald, Primo Levi, Anita Desai, Roberto Bolaño, Walter Abish, and James Joyce. Each of these texts, in one way or another, includes German elements even though only the first of these is usually regarded as pertaining to German literature. Borrowing terminological items from Plato, Aristotle, and Charles S. Peirce, I propose to distinguish glotta-mimesis (presence of other languages on the level of the discours) from glotta-diegesis (presence of other languages on the level of the histoire), to add a sub-distinction to the former class (iconic vs. indexical glotta-mimesis), and to introduce two further terms (glotta-pithanon and glotta-aporetic) that will be useful in describing key aspects of the relationship between languages on the level of the discours and those on the level of the histoire. There are, however, cases in which it is impossible to determine the language spoken within the fictional ‚world‘, as constructed by a particular literary text. This class of glotta-aporetic phenomena turns out to be more than just one easily definable class. Limiting the reach of any classification based on the seemingly discrete distinction between histoire and discours, this linguistic aporia marks the autonomy of literature.