Homogenizing the global literature experience

Any hopes to dealing with the translation gap that’s been blocking these non-English international blockbusters books?

If this trend is any indication, then perhaps we have little to worry about – since everything will converge to the same blend of McDonalized dullness. In an attempt to appeal to a global, and more importantly, English-speaking audience, the art of literature has been reduced to ploys and strategies.

[C]ontemporary authors like the Norwegian Per Petterson, the Dutch Gerhard Baaker, or the Italian Alessandro Baricco, offer us works that require no such knowledge or effort, nor offer the rewards that such effort will bring.

More importantly the language is kept simple. Kazuo Ishiguro has spoken of the importance of avoiding word play and allusion to make things easy for the translator. Scandinavian writers I know tell me they avoid character names that would be difficult for an English reader.

What seems doomed to disappear, or at least to risk neglect, is the kind of work that revels in the subtle nuances of its own language and literary culture, the sort of writing that can savage or celebrate the way this or that linguistic group really lives.

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