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Gosh, Nora! I've always considered "World Lit" as works by authors from all over the world. That means, besides those authors who write/wrote in English (the UK, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and some of the 'post-colonial' Africans, such as Buchi Emecheta and Chinua Achebe, and Indians (Narayan, Naipaul, etc.) those authors who wrote in some other language and whose resultant works were translated into English for the benefit of readers such as me. (Emecheta, I understand was fluent in five languages.)
Without those diligent translators out there, how would we ever experience the pleasures of reading Milan Kundera, Herman Hesse, Gunter Grass, Camus, Sartre, Amos Oz, Ignazio Silone, Guiseppe di Lampedusa, the Russians (Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Gogol, Chekhov, etc,), the Scandinavians (Lagerlof, Moberg, Strindberg, Ibsen, Undset, Lindgren, etc.) and writers such as Amos Oz (Israeli) and Anton Shamass (Palestinian) and Naguib Mahfouz (Egyptian). I don't know what language the recent Nobelist in Literature Orhan Pamuk, a Turk, wrote/writes in? I kind of think that Argentinian J. Luis Borges could have written in English, if he wished to...? (BTW, Shamass wrote his novel Arabesque in what the critics called "lyrical Hebrew" ! )
I'm grateful, too, to those linguistically gifted folks who translated the works of writers such as Yasunari Kawabata and Junichiro Tanizaki into English. I sometimes think that literary works in certain languages of the world must be extra difficult to render into English. And I don't understand at all how what is beautiful verse in some other language, e. g. Arabic, or Chinese, or Finnish, can be turned into glorious Englsih poetry...... but still, it's interesting to read what Victor Hugo's poems sound like in English, for instance.
Last Edited on: 6/30/09 6:34 PM ET - Total times edited: 1