Confessions Of An Insular Mind
The Los Angeles Times has a good article about America’s growing insularity in the arts at a time of increasing globalization in other fields. The article talks about the problems in selling foreign films (people have to know a bit of history to enjoy Goodbye Lenin!) and the performing arts (specifically the difficulty for even the most renowned musicians to obtains visas to come here.) As for books, the paucity of translations is again duly noted:
Of the literary books published in the U.S., fewer than 3% are translations a proportion no better than in the Arab world. Leading lights, most recently Northwestern University Press, have cut back substantially; even Nobel Prize winners such as Jose Saramago and Imre Kertesz remain obscure here.
Color me surprised: America is as insular as the Arab world. In fact, it may be working hard to remain that way: The government even wants to prosecute editors of books from the Axis. (Thanks to Maud for the link.)