collective authorship and language

The idea of collective authorship rides us back deep into eighteenth century. The initial idea came across me when I thought about how to write a novel collectively with others who have different native languages. There were two novels I have read lately which are written by more than one author: Peter Glasser and Niklas Stiller’s “Der grosse Hirnriss” and the novel “Q” by an italian team who called themselves Luther Blissett. Still these novels didn’t totally match my intent to find some text that is being produced collectively by authors of different native languages. Initially I was inspired also by the information I found in an anthology of autobiographical texts by Rudolf Leonhard, a german expressionist poet from Dresden who was also antifascist (and stalinist) who lived in Paris… he was asked by James Joyce to work on a translation of Joyce’s work in progess (aka Finnegans Wake), because Joyce was impressed by his experimental text “Das Wort”. Experiments with collective authorship and language were also influential in punk. The Slits (a punk band from London) had german and english lyrics. Red Crayola released a single with german titles (rattenmensch) and their Singer and mastermind Mayo Thompson moved to germany and wrote for german independent magazine “Spex”. The yugoslavian wavepunk band Idoli sung their song “schwule über europa” in german. The mayor blueprint for this idea of a collective text could be indeed Finnegans Wake…

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