Translingualism as Creative Revolt: Rewriting Dominant Narratives of Translingual Literature

  • Hannah Tate Williams


This essay traces the global development of translingual literature in order to confront the pervasive myth of the monolingual paradigm which insists that meaningful interaction can only occur in one language at a time in a given context. This paper shows that this Eurocentric mindset persists in translingual literature, negatively affecting critical accounts of translingual authors whose work falls outside of monolingual parameters. It offers a more appropriate account of a few of these authors, who use their writing to actively work against the monolingual paradigm and promote linguistic diversity. These authors employ translingualism as a necessary tool of identity expression, refusing to reshape themselves to the standards of a monolingual cultural purity. By prioritizing their own hybrid voices, translingual authors put the onus of comprehension on their readers, inverting the paradigm of monolingualism by denying easy access to the monolingual reader. It will focus especially on Mexican-American author Sandra Cisneros, whose hybrid identity is a driving force in her work, and who uses translingualism especially in her poetry, to fully express her dual identity.

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How to Cite
Williams, Hannah. 2020. “Translingualism As Creative Revolt: Rewriting Dominant Narratives of Translingual Literature”. FORUM: University of Edinburgh Postgraduate Journal of Culture & The Arts, no. 30 (July).