Friday, October 10, 2008

America, insular? No... say it ain't so.

Class, please read this wonderful article in the Washington Post today about the new Nobel Prize winner, the dreamy Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio*.

The article accuses American literature and publishers of being insular and of not engaging in translations. Really? You think?

As someone that craves all things from all places outside the boundaries of this tiny little country, I was so excited to read this being so clearly stated by such a widely read publication. -- Admitting you have a problem is the first step in recovery, people.

For example, in a country where approximately 36 million people are of Hispanic descent, have you seen the Spanish Language section of your local bookstore? Probably not, because if there is one, it is usually about 2 shelves, in the back, and is comprised predominately of children's books.

So it's no wonder that lyrical Frenchmen with chiseled jaws find it hard to get their books translated and published in this land of ours. Obviously with the harsh words from the Swedes, maybe some smaller publishers will sit up and take note. As the article says, no one is saying that the US doesn't produce wonderful literature, but what we READ is our own. Which by my way of thinking keeps us safe and warm at night and doesn't challenge us to face the problems out in the world of ours. We wait for things to come knocking on our door, prefiltered and palatable.

*No, I have not read anything by him. I am as isolated and insular as the rest of you.

No comments: