At a time when monolingualist claims for the importance of ‘speaking English’ to the national order continue louder than ever, even as language diversity is increasingly part of contemporary British life, literature becomes a space to consider the terms of linguistic belonging. Bad English examines writers including Tom Leonard, James Kelman, Suhayl Saadi, Raman Mundair, Daljit Nagra, Xiaolu Guo, Leila Aboulela, Brian Chikwava, and Caroline Bergvall, who engage multilingually, experimentally, playfully, and ambivalently with English’s power. Considering their invented vernaculars and mixed idioms, their dramatised scenes of languaging – languages learned or lost, acts of translation, scenes of speaking, the exposure and racialised visibility of accent – it argues for a growing field of contemporary literature in Britain pre-eminently concerned with language’s power dynamics, its aesthetic potentialities, and its prosthetic strangeness. Drawing on insights from applied linguistics and translation studies as well as literary scholarship, Bad English explores contemporary arguments about language in Britain – in debates about citizenship or education, in the media or on Twitter, in Home Office policy and asylum legislation – as well as the ways they are taken up in literature. It uncovers both an antagonistic and a productive interplay between language politics and literary form, tracing writers’ articulation of linguistic alienation and ambivalence, as well as the productivity and making-new of radical language practices. Doing so, it refutes the view that language difference and language politics are somehow irrelevant to contemporary Britain and instead argues for their constitutive centrality to the work of novelists and poets whose inside/outside relationship to English in its institutionalised forms is the generative force of their writing.
Sentient ink, curatorship and writing the new weird in China Miéville’s
Kraken: An anatomy
), ‘Long live the new weird’, Third alternative , 35 (Summer), n.p.
— (2008), ‘Multilateralism as terror: Internationallaw, Haiti and imperialism’, Finnish yearbook of internationallaw , 19. Available: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/783 [accessed 21 June 2017].
— (2009), ‘Long live the new weird’, Extrapolation , 35.
— (2010), Kraken: An anatomy (London: Pan Macmillan).
— (2011), ‘M.R. James and the quantum vampire weird; Hauntological: Versus and
living donor transplants.
The introduction of local and internationallaws
prohibiting the trade in organs in the 1990s has pushed the
procedure underground. Most Asian countries, South Korea, Hong Kong
and the Philippines included, forbid the sale of organs for profit
and demand that all donations be obtained from relatives and family
friends. At the same time, the underground
’s official stance on the conflict
and led to the mobilisation not only among the regime’s supporters, but
also undecided and even critically-minded individuals’ (2017). The
annexation of Crimea and Russia’s surreptitious involvement in the war
in Donbas have paved the way for the persecution of individual artists
and activists described above. By violating internationallaw, persistently
denying having done so, and suffering scant consequences, the Putin
administration has proven itself capable of perpetuating even the most
untrustworthy and destructive of cultural
Dramatic and civil logics of the European state-form
Faith nor Oath is to be kept. (1676: 34) 4
seems superfluous to add that these piratical ‘actors’
suffer new determinations, and ‘shift in identity’
correspondingly, as various supranational doctrines and institutions
emerge after 1800, including the Law of Nations, different
codifications of internationallaw or
from local obligations. Internationallaw and nation state legal systems significantly contribute to
this strategy of disengagement and growing social liquidity.
Increasingly mobile and evasive forms of power coincide with new
forms of legal regulation and domination. ( 2007 : 1)
The law itself then, by
popular currency in the
UK in the early 1990s. In contrast to the term refugee, which names
a (legal) status arrived at, ‘asylum-seeker’ invokes the non-status of
a person who has not been recognized as a refugee. Asylum-seekers
are literally pending recognition. Inscribing the category of asylum-seeker in British law through the enactment of a series of punitive asylum laws has enabled the British Government to manoeuvre
around the rights of the refugee as prescribed by internationallaw.36
Asylum seekers are held within a regime of ‘hostile language’ which
people’; and thirdly, it involves ‘a series of set piece political encounters – interviews with leaders and opposition figures and so forth’ (SRI, 79).
Rushdie’s assessment of the political situation in Nicaragua is unashamedly partisan. He arrived shortly after the International Court of Justice in the Hague had ruled that US aid to the contras was in violation of internationallaw (a judgement that the US House of Representatives had blithely ignored by granting a further $100 million worth of funds for the counterrevolution) and his
area of concerns (taking in, for example, medical ethics, internationallaw, civil rights, social history, and the history of religion), while LGBT theory suggests an emphasis on literary, cultural, and philosophical matters. In both cases, the primary focus of the field is on matters relating to sexual orientation and gender identity. In the UK the pioneering academic presence in queer studies was the Centre for Sexual Dissidence (known as ‘SexDiss’) in the English Department at Sussex University, founded by Alan Sinfield and Jonathan Dollimore in 1990, with its
… spanning generations’: instead, it made the challenge
from the alternative, equally authoritative value-position of individual
human rights supported by internationallaw. The values of and rights to
culture, endorsed by a UN declaration, were challenged by the values and
rights of individual women over the integrity of their bodies and their
choice in matters of sexual behaviour, endorsed by internationallaw