Friday, 10 July 2009

The scope of this blog

Responding to my view of how I see this blog, Eric wrote:
My only plaint so far is that Latvia and Lithuania are not included. Estonia is certainly tied in with Finland. But the Baltic countries do have many aspects of recent history in common. Their literature is fascinating. If we can embrace the whole of Scandinavia, disregarding language background (e.g. with Finnish, Lappish and Greenlandic), we could perhaps take on board the other two Baltic countries. If we have visitors from the Baltic states, maybe we could take on board all three.
I think that to include Latvia and Lithuania would be stretching the frame of reference a bit too far. Greenlandic literature was discussed because there is a genuine possibility that Greenland might become a sixth Nordic state. As far as I'm aware, there's no such possibility at present for Latvia and Lithuania. Also, as anyone who has visited them knows, those countries (especially Lithuania) are culturally distinct from the Nordic states, and while Estonia can be given guest status here because of its close ties with Finland and Sweden, I don't really see how the other two can fit the frame.

A similar problem occurred in the life of Usenet back in the early 1990s, when the newsgroup soc.culture.baltics was formed as a breakaway from groups like soc.culture.soviet and soc.culture.nordic. I think a separate Baltic literature blog might be a more interesting avenue to explore, and maybe you could think about setting one up, Eric? It would certainly be the first of its kind.

My feeling is that there's a lot of Nordic writing, especially in Finnish and Danish, that isn't familiar to readers from outside the region, and I would rather concentrate on exploring those literary areas, rather than widening the focus outside the Nordic region in the way you suggest.

1 comment:

Eric Dickens said...

It's not a big deal leaving out Latvia and Lithuania, but they do occasionally overlap with what is done in Estonia. I personally am not by any means an expert on either literature, but by what I have glimpsed at of especially Latvian literature I can see that it is almost as big in scope as Estonian literature. My Latvian and Lithuanian are more or less at beginner's level, so I would be no help really regarding translation. But if someone such as Chris Moseley were to ever contribute to this blog we may be able to find more. Almost all my knowledge of Latvian literature is thanks to the Swedish translator Juris Kronbergs, which is why I've mentioned him occasionally.

So within the present scope of this blog, I'm quite happy to stick to mostly Finland-Swedish, Swedish and nynorsk literature, as those are the literatures I know best. And, of course, contribute things regarding Estonia.

Incidentally, since David started writing about Greenlandic literature here, someone on the World Literature Forum has also started writing about, specifically, Aqqaluk Lynge, whom I knew nothing about before. If indeed Greenland does become an independent state, as opposed to a colony, protectorate, or similar, I'm sure we'll be hearing more about their literature.