The Noise of Multilingualism

Reader Diversity, Linguistic Borders and Literary Multimodality


  • Julia Tidigs University of Helsinki
  • Markus Huss Södertörn University


literary multilingualism, readers, multimodality, language borders, contemporary poetry


The article proposes a new multimodal approach to literary multilingualism, with special attention devoted to how readers with different language skills partake in making literary multilingualism happen. It presents a critical assessment of previous scholarship on literary multilingualism, which we claim is characterized by monolingual assumptions and a problematic division between mono- and multilingual literature. As a continuation of the theoretical argument, multimodal readings of three contemporary poets Cia Rinne, Caroline Bergvall and Ralf Andtbacka are presented. Instances of contemporary multilingual poetry, the article concludes, can help us to critically scrutinize notions of clear-cut linguistic borders, as well as to study the intricate dynamics between the acoustic and visual aspects of literary multilingualism.