Tuesday, April 27, 2010

America's Great Wall

Most American citizens are unaware that the works of foreign writers available in English are gradually declining and, as a result, the United States and UK are slowly isolating themselves by failing to provide access to the great works available in other languages. This is problematic as it prevents local scholars from engaging in a dialogue with writers from other regions of the world (or so argues the Nobel committee head). The latest Foreign Policy labels this closed-reality A New Great Wall: Why The Crisis in Translation Matters.

Leon Wieseltier offers a review of Philip Roth’s The Humbling that illustrates how this is a problem for American literature and culture. One way to eliminate mystery is to presume that we know everything.

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