American Literary Tourism

“We should question the authenticity of exotic locales that have been tailored to suit American appetites.” …

“Americans are famously reluctant when it comes to reading literature in translation. Only 3% of the books published annually in the United States are translations. … While contemporary books may take us to distant places, most of those available are written in English, and penned by writers who live in the English-speaking world. Americans don’t want to be readers of world literature. They want to be literary tourists.”

“This trend has less to do with language than it does with writers’ amenability to act as a tour guide for American readers as they traverse cultural divides. … It’s typically assumed that the reader lacks prior knowledge, so guidebook-like hand-holding is built into the form and narrative of the story.”

“English language writers … treat readers as strangers in a strange land, and the result is world literature that starts to feel like tourism.”

“Slang, jargon, and non-English words must be cushioned in context or explained outright. Descriptions of the setting resemble stage directions, just concrete enough for readers to get their bearings.”

From: policymic.com

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