Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Emperor of Literature

Well, this got me going today.

I'm in the kitchen, studiously ignoring as much of the financial and political news as I safely can, when my eyes land on this article in The Denver Post.

Horace Engdahl, the Swedish Academy's permanent secretary, and the top member of the award jury for the Nobel Prize, believes that Americans are too insular and ignorant to produce great writing.

Excuse me?

I'm not stupid. I know there are great literary minds on every continent, not just the U.S. But it does include the U.S.

I'm developing a mental picture of dear Mr. Engdahl, and it isn't pretty.

"The U.S. is too isolated, too insular." Did he miss 9/11?

" . . . you can't get away from the fact that Europe still is the center of the literary world . . . not the United States."

To their credit (and I confess I certainly could not have come up with this list) some notable American literary folk would like to send Emperor Engdahl a reading list. One that includes Roth, Oates, Proust, Joyce, Nabokov, Updike and DeLillo, and many younger writers.

I guess no one on these shores (or even inland to Colorado) should be waiting for a call next week from Horace.

CR: Life Expectancy.

It's all better with friends.

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