Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I think American literature mainly falls into two bins: commercially viable and not commercially viable. Commercially viable books are best sellers, wind up on Oprah's book club list, and made into movies. Not commercially viable books languish in obscurity if they are even published at all.

The problem for writers are that if one is to live off ones writing it needs to be commercially viable and that isn't the type of writing the Nobel committee is looking for. I concur that much of what is popular and gets read in the U.S. is pretty awful. The "good" writers that the literary establishment promote, are not the type of books I enjoy reading or find rewarding, so I too can see why Engdahl is underwhelmed.

I do think he has a rather narrow view and exposure to American writing, however. I think the writing that is truly literary isn't easy to find and it isn't going to be found on the NY Times best seller list, nor is it likely to be found their Book Review section. Most good literature is extra-establishement.

I'm sorry I missed your essay earlier. I went ahead and put one up as essay as well with my non-literary reaction. I took more umbrage with the claim that Europe was the center of the literary world, than with American being "too insular" which I agree with somewhat.

by Magnifico on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 04:20:08 PM EST

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