Saturday, October 4, 2008

American Melancholy

America's been taking it on the chin of late. There's the impending possible collapse of the economy and it's contribution to an already plummeting opinion of the U.S. in the world. And if that's not bad enough, a few days ago the permanent secretary head of the Nobel prize committee, Horace Engdahl, called the literature of the U.S., "insular" and "isolated". He went on to say, in a completely non-insular way, that "Of course there is powerful literature in all big cultures, but you can't get away from the fact that Europe still is the centre of the literary world, not the United States." Enghdal has since reiterated that an author's nationality factors not at all into the Nobel panel's decision. Sigh. For a nice commentary on the literary awards season, check out Elizabeth Renzetti's article, wherein novelists, publishers, and literary judges are compared to weasels and thin-skinned tomatoes.

In despairingly related news, io9 recently published an article, "America: It Had to End Sometime," which offers up some of the best American apocalypse stories, whether it be alien invasion, economic catastrophe, or Rothian alternate history. The goal being to help us prepare for the aftermath of the coming American apocalypse. Hmm, American writers writing about the end of America, maybe Engdahl had a point...

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