Much postcolonial literature depends on unacknowledged processes of translation working like the “radio” in Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children that magically renders all Indian languages intelligible to the children of midnight. It is surprisingly difficult to determine what languages the characters in Rushdie's novel are actually speaking; though there can be found in the novel several of the strategies Meir Sternberg identifies with translational mimesis (the representation of one language within another), the material substance of English is important in much of its dialogue. Arguably, the English language itself is the magic radio by means of which meaning becomes accessible in Midnight's Children—and Rushdie's own comments reveal ultimately that he evaded the issue of the underlying languages the characters are speaking.

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