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Aug 5 2012, 02:04 AM
- Still see an anti United States feeling in the Swedish Academy, commanded by the powerful figure of Engdahl.
Just a quick comment about the alleged resentments of Engdahl and the Nobel academy towards the US. I think that was a big misunderstanding based on a few badly chosen statements of him. I think, and it was also clarified shortly afterwards but nobody wanted to listen anymore, that he only meant to express his concerns about the insularity of the US publishing business, the press coverage of foreign literature there and the reading attitudes of the US audience. It was never about the quality of the top level literature there (at least that is how I got it). It is a fact that translated literature makes only a small percentage of the published books in the US and that translated books only rarely appear in mainstream papers like the New York Times for example (check regular comments of the Literary Saloon about this). I am not an expert on such questions (so those from the US, please correct me if I am talking bullshit), I just follow several blogs and other pages by Americans (or people living there) that regularly comment on such issues and try to improve the situation, like the Literary Saloon/Complete Review and Three Percent for example, the agenda of the latter:
Unfortunately, only about 3% of all books published in the United States are works in translation. That is why we have chosen the name Three Percent for this site. And that 3% figure includes all books in translation—in terms of literary fiction and poetry, the number is actually closer to 0.7%. While that figure obviously represents more books than any one person could read in a year, it’s hardly an impressive number. An even greater shame is that only a fraction of the titles that do make their way into English are covered by the mainstream media. So despite the quality of these books, most translations go virtually unnoticed and never find their audience.

This situation is completely different from many European countries where translated literature takes a huge fraction of the book market and where international literature is lively discussed in academia and mass media.

So to cut a long story short, I do not think that the chances of an US writer on winning a Nobel prize were ever affected by this. I think it was explicitly said by the academy that the US has worthy writers. Personally I would like to see an American win it as long as it is not the 'great man' himself, that would be the most boring nobel prize ever. Unfortunately I fear the worst as he already took practically all of the other awards mentioned above :)
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Nobel Prize 2012 · General discussion