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‘Stimulating our Literature and Deepening our Culture’.

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Translated Books as Book-of-the-Month Club Selections, 1926 to 1973

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One of the most prominent book clubs in the US was the Book-of-the-Month Club, established in 1926. The Book-of-the-Month Club marketed books as commodities for consumption, promoting leisurely reading among the growing middle class. But the Book-of-the-Month Club also claimed to be ‘stimulating our literature and deepening our culture’, and in fact, dozens of selected authors went on to receive the Pulitzer Prize or the Nobel Prize for Literature. The body of research on the Book-of-the-Month Club includes Janice A. Radway’s well-known multi-method study A Feeling for Books (1997). But translations among Book-of-the-Month Club selections have not yet been considered.Focusing in particular on books translated into English from German, this paper will present new data on originally foreign-language books that were selected by the Book-of-the-Month Club judges, thereby guaranteeing European authors maximum visibility and exorbitant sales in the US market, which was (and is) usually considered difficult to tap into for non-Anglophone writers.

Affiliations: 1: Gutenberg-Institut für Weltliteratur und schriftorientierte MedienJohannes Gutenberg-University MainzGermany


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