American, British and Canadian Studies
Call for Papers
Special Issue: Being // Non-Being: Interpretive Perspectives in Language, Discourse and Culture
Submission Deadline: 1 August 2023
Guest Editor: Emma Tămâianu-Morita (Kindai University, Osaka), firstname.lastname@example.org
The inspiration behind the present issue is a remarkable and deeply unsettling volume authored by Ana Agud. A distinguished Hispanist and Indologist, Agud is Professor Emeritus at the University of Salamanca, a leading specialist in Indo-Iranian Studies, General linguistics and the Philosophy of language, and Vedic literature, exegete and translator of the Upanishads, and one of the most profound and original interpreters of the work of Eugenio Coseriu (1921-2002).
More than ten years ago, the scholar embarked on a large-scale, painstakingly laborious endeavour, ‘unorthodox’ in purport, refreshingly remote from mainstream projects in linguistics and language philosophy. In 2017, she published the output in a volume entitled Los poemas del ser y el no ser y sus lenguajes en la historia: Antología plurilingüe con textos de Rigveda, Parménides, Upanișad, Bhagavad Gītā, Lucrecio, Shakespeare, Hegel, Goethe y A. Machado / The Poems of Being and Non-Being and Their Languages in the Course of History: A Multilingual Anthology of Rig Veda, Parmenides, The Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Lucrecio, Shakespeare, Hegel, Goethe and Antonio Machado.
Nothing could be more misleading than the simplicity of the subtitle. Each chapter is organized around a comprehensive linguistic and philological analysis of previously published translations as well as the author’s new translations into Spanish from the Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, English and German originals, presented in parallel, for the reader’s benefit, in the fashion of a plurilingual anthology. Agud unravels here an all-encompassing web of connections constitutive of the cultural, religious and social aspects underlying the work of each individual thinker, ultimately weaving these threads together, into an organic, revealing story of perhaps humanity’s greatest quest: coming to terms with what is and with what is not, be that in an ontological and gnoseological key (probing into the nature of ‘reality’ and what may lie beyond it), in psychological mode (confronting the anguish and terror of Being turning into Non-being), or moral scope (turning Non-being into a vector of transformation, tamed expression of a human ideal – aspiring to become what one is not, to become what one should be).
Agud foregrounds ‘Being’ and ‘Non-being’ as hyper-ordinate vectors of meaning-creation which oversee and epitomize to a certain extent a wide range of concrete issues of the deepest concern for us humans – as individuals facing inevitable death, as members of the social and cultural communities we build and destroy, and, last but not least, as temporary inhabitants of a world that will most certainly outlive us as a species.
Coseriu’s own work provides a suggestive instantiation of the Being // Non-Being dyad in a metalinguistic key, as an analytic dimension in textual interpretation. In the 1987 study “Die Ausdruckslücke als Ausdrucksverfahren (Textlinguistische Übung zu einem Gedicht von Kavafis)” [Expression gaps as means of expression (Text-linguistic exercise on a poem by Cavafy)],[i] Coseriu starts from a minute analysis of C.P. Cavafy’s poem “In the month of Athyr”, in order to identify and interpret the role played by “expression gaps” in the constitution and articulation of textual sense. “Expression gaps” are defined here as a type of “objective omission” which prompts the recovery and poetic exploitation of ‘absent’ parts of a prior original text: textual fragments posited as missing from the text’s constitution, but necessary by virtue of their function in the overall semantic articulation of the text, and retrievable only in a hypothetical fashion, on the basis of expression clues actually present in the text, or of other sense-units that do have a material expression in the text. The recovery of missing parts, similar to a process of philological restitutio, thus appears as a rationally preliminary step to interpretation, while at the same time affecting the way in which the global sense of the text is construed.
Honouring both Eugenio Coseriu’s outstanding legacy in the epistemic reconstruction of linguistics as a cultural science, and Ana Agud’s ground-breaking contribution to Coserian scholarship, we invite contributions which employ theoretical standpoints and methodological frameworks from various disciplines in the fields of linguistics and language philosophy, discourse studies, literary and cultural studies, as well as transdisciplinary approaches, for a thematic issue conceived as a forum for critical reflection and debate on two central axes:
(1) Various forms and modes of manifestation of Being // Non-being: e.g. existence / non-existence; life (survival) / death (extinction); creation / destruction; presence / absence; visibility / invisibility; gain / loss; addition (interpolation) / deletion (suppression); overspecification / underspecification;
(2) Various types of relationship in which the two terms have been or can be placed: Being // Non-being as complementaries (AND); as opposites (OR, VS.); as mutual substitutes situated on the same or on different ontological levels (e.g. non-being AS an alternative form of being, being AS an illusory form of non-being) etc.
In keeping with the journal’s profile, we welcome contributions which have as their main point of focus the English language and the sphere of Anglophone literatures and cultures, while welcoming comprehensive, multi-faceted explorations of the proposed themes.
Submissions can engage, but are not limited to, the following thematic areas and topics:
– Conceptualizations of Being // Non-being in the lexical system of English, or other languages in contrast to English; manifestations or modifications of those systemic/functional structures in the norms of usage of the respective languages, considered from the standpoint of diatopic, diastratic or diaphasic varieties
– Being // Non-being as semantic vectors for the constitution of discourse; possible implications for circumscribing and defining genres and text types
– Being // Non-being as textual units of sense: challenges in the process of translation from and into English
– Discourse functions of “expression gaps” in Coseriu’s (1987) acceptation
– Making the invisible visible, and the absent present: representations of Non-being, or of the opposition Being vs. Non-being, in visual texts, films, dramatic performances
– Positive or negative valuations of Being // Non-being in literature, philosophical reflection, social analysis, social and political action
Articles will be subject to a blind peer reviewing process and must not be under consideration for any other publication.
Submission guidelines: The first page of the manuscript should carry the title, names of authors, institutional affiliations, a brief but detailed 200-word abstract, and 7-10 key words/ concepts. The article must be accompanied by a 200-word biographical note and must conform to MLA referencing (9th edition). Please see further information and instructions in the journal’s Submission Guidelines at: http://abcjournal.eu/.
The word-limit for articles is 8500 words, including notes and references.
Please email enquiries and submissions marked “Being // Non-Being” to Emma Tămâianu-Morita (Kindai University, Osaka) at email@example.com and copied to firstname.lastname@example.org, before the closing date.
[i] Published in Stuttgarter Arbeiten zur Germanistik, 189, “Sinnlichkeit in Bild und Klang”. Festschrift für P. Hoffman zum 70. Geburtstag, pp. 373-383.