Wandering Words: Translation against the Myth of Origin in Fritz Mauthner’s Philosophy

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In this paper, I will address the issue of translation as a critique of autochthony that emerges in the context of Fritz Mauthner’s linguistic scepticism. Translation, for Mauthner, becomes a privileged prism through which to consider identity and belonging, as well as a way of understanding uprootedness, since language is a continuous product of borrowing, bastardization, stratification, and contingency. According to Mauthner, languages are not possession, but borrowing; not purity, but contagion; not an abstract crystallization, but transit. Therefore, love of the mother tongue — the only way to conceive patriotism — is not a physical connection with the land, roots, or nation, but a refuge, an always precarious Heimat (home).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUntying the Mother Tongue
EditorsAntonio Castore, Federico Dal Bo
Place of PublicationBerlin
PublisherICI Berlin Press
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-96558-050-3, 978-3-96558-051-0
ISBN (Print)978-3-96558-048-0, 978-3-96558-049-7
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Publication series

NameCultural Inquiryv
ISSN (Print)2627-728X
ISSN (Electronic)2627-731X


  • Fritz Mauthner
  • Translation
  • Mother Tongue
  • Linguistic Skepticism
  • Autochthony


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