Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I've been meaning to get around to this. I almost forgot. NY Times, October 5
On Tuesday, Horace Engdahl, the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, the organization that awards the Nobel Prize in Literature, gave an interview to The Associated Press and, while not dropping hints about this year’s winner, seemed to rule out, pretty much, the chances of any American writer. “Europe is still the center of the literary world,” he said, not the United States, and he suggested that American writers were “too sensitive to trends in their own mass culture.” He added: “The U.S. is too isolated, too insular. They don’t translate enough and don’t really participate in the big dialogue of literature. That ignorance is restraining.”
NY Times, October 17th
It is a commonly held assumption that Americans don’t like to read authors who write in languages they don’t understand. That belief persists here in Frankfurt, where publishers from 100 countries show off a smorgasbord of their best — or at least best-selling — books. By and large, the American publishers spend most of the week in Hall 8, the enormous exhibit space where English-language publishers hold court. Although there are exceptions among the big publishing houses, the editors from the United States are generally more likely to bid on other hyped American or British titles than to look for new literature in the international halls.
The reality based literary community.

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