At the threshold of the inarticulate : 'Made-up' Englishes – action and reaction

Kendall, J ORCID: 2022, 'At the threshold of the inarticulate : 'Made-up' Englishes – action and reaction' , in: Early Medieval English in the Modern Age , Boydell and Brewer, UK, pp. 115-134.

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I will look at the impetus behind literary texts that explore, revive and adapt the language and literature of early medieval England in 20th and 21st prose or verse, such as Paul Kingsnorth’s Wake, connecting with Philip Terry’s Bayeux Tapestry, and parts of Caroline Bergvall’s Meddle English. I will be looking at the ‘made-up’ language in such texts and will set this discussion in the context of other explorations of ‘made-up’ language in literary works. I will examine the effects of such language on the works in which it is used, and on processes of composition and production. I will consider differences in intended and unintended effects – accomplished accidentally, erroneously or with conscious purpose, and also the text’s readership, since ‘made-up’ language can significantly affect the reading process, demanding a conscious continual effort of translation from the known to the made-up, and incorporating guess-work and incomprehension. I will discuss to what extent, in the writing, translation and even reading process of such texts, it is not the writer, translator or reader, but the language that leads, and so consider how made-up English becomes not just a means of conveying a semantic text or special effect, but a text itself, building and developing from its own network of response-inviting structures. This results in moments of what I term thickening language. How such language, keeping the speaker, the novel and the reader at the threshold of the inarticulate, with all that that implies, has particular resonances for made-up post-medieval Old Englishes will then be reviewed.

Item Type: Book Section
Schools: Schools > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences
Publisher: Boydell and Brewer
ISBN: 9781843846505
Depositing User: Dr J Kendall
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2021 15:32
Last Modified: 14 Dec 2022 12:00

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