I’m not saying this to point out a deficiency in German literature — German book culture is fabulous. What I am saying is that international writing is a part of that culture, in a way that it is not a part of English-language book culture, simply by volume and visibility of translations available. Yes, a lot of them come from English, but a lot of them don’t, and English literature would be a lot better off if it had even one language from which it translated in droves.
The German turn of phrase Weltstadt (literally “world city,” probably closer to “cosmopolitan city”) has always made me a bit smug, in my American way, about German provincialism — no American would ever bother saying Weltstadt New York or Chicago or Los Angeles; of course they’re cosmopolitan!
But in terms of book culture they’re not. So in the future, we’ll be taking advantage of our location in literary Weltstadt Berlin to offer you a panorama of the international writings at the heart of German literature today.
This text by Amanda DeMarco is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.