Pirates, Parrots, and the Poetics of Translingualism - Eugene Ostashevsky
Translingualism is the inclusion of more than one language in a single literary piece, whether openly or covertly, through puns or borrowings. It is becoming widespread in literature as both a result of globalization and a form of resistance to the linguistic and cultural homogeneity that globalization seeks to impose. Eugene Ostashevsky will discuss the concept and read from his latest translingual and cross-genre work, The Pirate Who Does Not Know the Value of Pi, whose protagonists, a pirate and a parrot, are shipwrecked on a deserted island, where they try to communicate with indigenous people who do not exist. Inspired in part by Vkeyptaunskom portu, a Soviet adaptation of the US Yiddish hit Bei mir bistu shein, Ostashevsky’s The Pirate Who Does Not Know the Value of Pi mixes old-school hip-hop with philosophy of language, and children’s nonsense poetry with early modern controversies about animal intelligence.