The Genius of Language

‘Wendy Lesser, the founding Editor of the Californian little magazine, the Threepenny Review, has had the good idea of inviting a variety of writers who have one thing in common: that they have left their native language behind (none, so far as I know, has been actually banished) in order to write in English (most of them have settled in the United States), to meditate on what this transition has meant to them. The authors range from the well-known to the relatively obscure, from novelists to doctors to professors of history; and the languages range from Bangla to Gikuyu, from Chinese to Scots, with most of the European languages, including Yiddish, represented. A few of the contributors are so filled with self-importance that little of interest emerges from their pieces, but by and large the essays are informative, and well-written, and several are moving.’

From Gabriel Josipovici’s review of The Genius of Language in the TLS.