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The Fall of Language in the Age of English: Book by Minae Mizumura

The Fall of Language in the Age of English

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ISBN: 9780231163026    Publisher: Columbia University Press Year of publishing: 2015     Format:  Hardback No of Pages: 240        Language: English
Winner of the Kobayashi Hideo Award, this best-selling book by one of Japan's most ambitious contemporary fiction writers lays bare the struggle to retain the brilliance of one's own language in an age of English...Read more
Winner of the Kobayashi Hideo Award, this best-selling book by one of Japan's most ambitious contemporary fiction writers lays bare the struggle to retain the brilliance of one's own language in an age of English dominance. Born in Tokyo but also raised and educated in the United States, Minae Mizumura acknowledges the value of a universal language in the pursuit of knowledge, yet also appreciates the different ways of seeing offered by the work of multiple tongues. She warns against losing this precious diversity. Universal languages have always played a pivotal role in advancing human societies, Mizumura shows, but in the globalized world of the Internet, English is fast becoming the sole common language of the human race. The process is unstoppable, and striving for total language equality is delusional -- except when a particular knowledge is at stake, gained through writings in a specific language. Mizumura calls these writings "texts" and their ultimate form "literature." Only through literature, and more fundamentally through the various languages that give birth to a variety of literatures, can we nurture and enrich humanity.
Incorporating her own experiences as a writer and a lover of language, and embedding a parallel history of Japanese, Mizumura offers an intimate look at the phenomenona of individual and national expression.
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About the author: Minae Mizumura
Minae Mizumura was born in Tokyo, moved to New York at the age of twelve, and studied French literature at Yale University. Acclaimed for her audacious... Read more
Minae Mizumura was born in Tokyo, moved to New York at the age of twelve, and studied French literature at Yale University. Acclaimed for her audacious experimentation and skillful storytelling, Mizumura has won major literary awards for all four of her novels -- one of which, A True Novel, recently was published in English. She lives in Tokyo.
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Review:
The Fall of Language in the Age of English provocatively participates in current debates on world literature, translation, reading, and writing in the age of global English and the Internet,...Read more
The Fall of Language in the Age of English provocatively participates in current debates on world literature, translation, reading, and writing in the age of global English and the Internet, bringing forward a new and illuminating perspective on the translingual formation of national languages and the now endangered arc of modern literature. It is written from the viewpoint of a noted Japanese novelist as well as from a wider theoretical and historical perspective. -- Tomi Suzuki, Columbia University A dazzling rumination on the decline of local languages, most particularly Japanese, in a world overshadowed by English. Moving effortlessly between theory and personal reflection, Minae Mizumura's lament--linguistic and social in equal measure--is broadly informed, closely reasoned, and--in a manner that recalls her beloved Jane Austen--at once earnest and full of mischief. -- John Nathan, translator of Light and Dark: A Novel by Natsume Soseki A stirring call to consciousness about the role of language... For English speakers, the book presents an important opportunity to walk in someone else's shoes. Publishers Weekly The Fall of Language in the Age of English is--or at least can be--valuable to any literature-interested reader. Certainly, it is an interesting personal introduction to aspects of Japanese writing, and its transitions across recent centuries, as Japan's own position internationally has shifted. -- M. A. Orthofer The Complete Review A call to arms for everyone: for all non-native English speakers to embrace and champion literature in their own languages, and for English speakers to be that little less arrogant in their use of their mother tongue, which just happens to have become the world's universal language. -- Sophie Knight The Japan Times Mizumura traces how the myth of the 'national language,' a pure upwelling of political character, coincided with the flowering of the nation-state--and, even more fascinatingly, of the novel itself... 'Language' may be in the book's title, but Mizumura has really crafted a conservationist's plea for literature. -- Katy Waldman Slate Rigorous and wide-ranging... This book is a cracker. -- Peter Gordon Asian Review of Books An eye-opening call to consciousness about the role of language. Publishers Weekly Tip Sheet There is incredibly smart stuff in here... Mizumura's ability to weave together so many strands of history (lingual, academic, economic, geopolitical) paints a clear picture of the evolution of Japanese literature, with commentary on the rest of the globe being a pleasant byproduct. -- Graham Oliver The Rumpus [A] highly charged book. -- Eric Banks The Chronicle Of Higher Education Persuasive, elegantly written... [The Fall of Language in the Age of English] is highly deserving of attention, from English and Japanese speakers alike, as well as from anyone concerned about literature's past and future. -- Rebecca Hussey The Quarterly Conversation The Fall of Language in the Age of English deserves wider coverage (and debate). Flavorwire
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