Cover: Mother Tongues: Sexuality, Trials, Motherhood, Translation, from Harvard University PressCover: Mother Tongues in HARDCOVER

Mother Tongues

Sexuality, Trials, Motherhood, Translation

Add to Cart

Product Details

HARDCOVER

$65.50 • £52.95 • €59.00

ISBN 9780674011878

Publication Date: 11/30/2003

Short

224 pages

5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

2 line illustrations

World

Charles Baudelaire, Walter Benjamin, and Sylvia Plath make up the odd trio on which this book is based. It is in the surprising and revealing links between them—links pertaining to troublesome mothers, elusive foreign languages, and professional disappointments—that Barbara Johnson maps the coordinates of her larger claims about the ideal of oneness in every area of life, and about the damage done by this ideal.

The existence of sexual difference precludes an original or ultimate “one” who would represent all of mankind; the plurality of languages makes it impossible to think that one doesn’t live in translation; and the plurality of the sexes means that every human being came from a woman’s body, and some will reproduce this feat, while others won’t. In her most personal and deeply considered book about difference, Johnson asks: Is the mother the guardian of a oneness we have never had? The relations that link mothers, bodies, words, and laws serve as the guiding puzzles as she searches for an answer.

Awards & Accolades

  • Honorable Mention, 2003 Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Comparative Literary Studies, Modern Language Association
The Anti-Oligarchy Constitution: Reconstructing the Economic Foundations of American Democracy, by Joseph Fishkin and William E. Forbath, from Harvard University Press

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Jacket: An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns, by Bruno Latour, translated by Catherine Porter, from Harvard University Press

Honoring Latour

In awarding Bruno Latour the 2021 Kyoto Prize for Arts and Philosophy, the Inamori Foundation said he has “revolutionized the conventional view of science” and “his philosophy re-examines ‘modernity’ based on the dualism of nature and society.” Below is an excerpt from An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns. For more than twenty years, scientific and technological controversies have proliferated in number and scope, eventually reaching the climate itself. Since geologists are beginning to use the term “Anthropocene” to designate the era of Earth’s history that follows the Holocene