In my recent monograph, The Pragmatics of Literary Testimony, I examine a number of German-language literary autobiographies that are connected to diverse social movements of the last forty years. These books have all received critical attention from the popular press, topped bestseller lists, and have been pivotal in discussions of authenticity, subjectivity, and referentiality. Because of the thematic diversity of these works, scholars within literary and cultural studies have tended to treat them separately under topical categories, such as women’s literature, the post-war generation, migration and multiculturalism, etc. Underlying Warner’s analysis is the claim that a pragmatic-stylistic approach is well-suited to describing how literary autobiographies come to function as testimonies to certain collective experiences. Through the analysis of key examples of German social testimonies from the late twentieth century, my book incorporates insights from discourse analysis, pragmatics, cogntive poetics, and sociolinguistics in order to demonstrate that this diverse body of works constitutes a particular form of textual practice defined by what I call authenticity effects—feelings of realism, immediacy, exemplarity, genuineness, and social relevance. By studying authenticity as a poetic effect, I believe that we can better understand the testimonial glamour owned by various types of autobiographical narration.
The Inaugural Issue (Vol. 1, No. 1) features articles from Mary Louise Pratt, Thomas Ricento, Laura Callahan, Doris Sommer, Brian Lennon, and Claire Kramsch.
Plans for the next issue are underway. Vol. 1, No. 2 will appear in March 2013 with contributions from Michael Holquist, Deborah Cameron, Thomas Paul Bonfiglio, Alison Phipps, and Glenn Levine.
Critical Multilingualism Studies invites new submissions from the various fields of inquiry that take stock of paradigms and discourses of multi- and monolingualism, including but not limited to applied linguistics, linguistics, second language acquisition and teaching, history, film and literary studies, political science, translation studies, education, computer science, cognitive science, and anthropology. Both empirical and theoretical studies are welcome. For further information please email firstname.lastname@example.org.