E.J. already posted about this yesterday, but on Monday there were a series of events at the Deutsches Haus in New York about French and German literature and related to the Editors Trip that took place earlier this year.
Anyway, I was on the Promoting International Literature Online panel, which was pretty interesting, and which Michael Orthofer did a great job recapping at the Literary Saloon.
What caught my attention was this:
While I appreciate that the complete review and its Literary Saloon are held in some regard, I found it somewhat disconcerting to be considered near the forefront of what’s being done on the Internet re. international literary coverage. Lazy, with no resources and far too little time (otherwise I could attend all those other panels …) I cobble together what I find of interest, when and as I can. The complete review should be a second- or third-tier information site; it’s a sad sign of the times and the field that you can get your information here first.
He’s being overly-modest, but he’s also got a point. I’m a huge fan of what Orthofer’s done, and when I say that Three Percent was inspired by Literary Saloon and Complete Review, I’m being completely honest.
What I most admire about his sites is the integrity and intellectual curiosity that drives his posts. Literary Saloon is in no way a “Dear Diary” sort of site, which is why it’s so respected and valuable to the culture at large.
That said, there does need to be more sources of information about international literature—especially works that are untranslated. But like we talked about on the panel, five years ago, there wasn’t enough going on to even put together a panel. Words Without Borders was in its infancy, InTranslation didn’t exist, PEN America’s site was miles away from the incredible source it is today, so things are changing and growing. And hopefully that will continue. This panel proved that there is a hunger for information about these books, and that there’s still a lot of people out there who aren’t familiar with what’s going on online.
So hold tight Michael. Hopefully you’ll be fighting for top-tier status sometime soon . . . in a good way.
Many of Virginie Despentes’s books revolve around the same central idea: “To be born a woman [is] the worst fate in practically every society.” But this message is nearly always packaged in easy-to-read books that fill you with the pleasure. . .
Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer’s La Superba is appropriately titled after the Italian city of Genoa, where, after escaping the pressures of fame in his own country, the semi-autobiographical narrator finds himself cataloguing the experiences of its mesmerizing inhabitants with the intention. . .
It took reading 44 pages of Intervenir/Intervene before I began to get a sense of what Dolores Dorantes and Rodrigo Flores Sánchez were up to. Recurring throughout these 44 pages—throughout the entire book—are shovels, shovel smacks to the face, lobelias—aha!. . .
As presaged by its title, contradiction is the theme of Peter Stamm’s novel, All Days Are Night. Gillian, a well-known television personality, remains unknowable to herself. And Hubert, a frustrated artist and Gillian’s lover, creates art through the process of. . .
It’s a rare and wonderful book that begins and ends with violence and humor. At the start of Etgar Keret’s The Seven Good Years, Keret is in a hospital waiting for the birth of his first child while nurses, in. . .
Last year, Han Kang’s The Vegetarian was an unexpected critical hit. Now, it’s just been published in the U.S. and has already received a great deal of positive critical attention. The Vegetarian was a bold book to attempt as an. . .
It’s been almost a year since the publication of Nowhere to Be Found by Bae Suah, but despite being included on the 2015 PEN Translation award longlist, and some pretty vocal support from key indie presses, the book has. . .
Jorge Eduardo Benavides’ novel La paz de los vencidos (The Peace of the Defeated) takes the form of a diary written by a nameless Peruvian thirty-something intellectual slumming it in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in Spain’s Canary Islands. Recently relocated. . .
Anyone with any interest at all in contemporary Moroccan writing must start with Souffles. A cultural and political journal, Souffles (the French word for “breaths”) was founded in 1966 by Abdellatif Laâbi and Mostafa Nissabouri. Run by a group of. . .
Randall Jarrell once argued a point that I will now paraphrase and, in doing so, over-simplify: As a culture, we need book criticism, not book reviews. I sort of agree, but let’s not get into all of that. Having finished. . .