Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Anglosphere, The Internet, and the Special Relationship

We have all been reading about the perceived decline of the US-British special relationship because of the UK parliament not approving force in Syria.

I think something different is happening. After the Internet began, people across the English-speaking world, reached out to each other, found common interests, suddenly found aspects of literature and culture until then strictly national had become international. Both my work on Anthony Powell and my Australian work could not have happened in quite the same way without the Internet and the way it made people aware of cultural priorities and discourses in their own language.

This may be what happened with Latin America and Spain, as Juan de Castro chronicled in the last chapter of THE SPACES OF LATIN AMERICAN LITERATURE. In the 1990s, after the Internet, the valuation of Spain in Latin America became much higher, to the point where it seemed all Latin America was 'happening' in Spain, the Madrid newspaper EL Pais became the place to read about Latin American literature,      
I think after a time this reached a saturation point; the channels were no longer new. Also, translation software becoming better, and an increased interesting and desire for translation to avoid a perceived parochialism of the Anglophone, kicked in. In a sense it is as if people perceived not just the closeness of Bush and Blair but the 'Anglosphere' that was touted as an ideological satisfaction for the US, Britain, Australia, acting in concert in Iraq, as responsible for what went wrong there; so after the Iraq debacle there was a greater interest in translations, in multilingualism.

So I think this, not any quirks of President Obama or Prime Minister Cameron or Ed Miliband, as has been mooted in the press, is really the backdrop here. The relationship of the US and UK is as it has always been--with great commonalities of culture and outlook, with fundamental loyalty, but with national interests that do not always square. It is the hype of Anglophone unity that occurred after the first impact of the Internet that was the exception?

 I think similarities in can be seen in the Spanish speaking world. (The Francophone and Lusophone worlds were so recently political unities the same issues do not apply there I think).

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