Thursday, January 20, 2011

Different Languages, Different Literatures

This month's Scientific American has an article on How Language Shapes Thoughts.

How might these insights affect the study of comparative literature? How might it affect translations? Or how polyglot writers create works of literature?

This also suggests that literature could have the power to change the way people think to a certain degree, by changing the language, as literature often does. If we consider Turner's idea of the blaze, this would be one way that literature performs this role.

For the literary Darwinist, the real question is what elements of thought are connected to language this way and what elements are not -- and how they interact. This would point to many of the commonalities among different literatures as well as explain the sources of their differences.

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