19 September 07 | Chad W. Post

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.


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