Magazine January 27, 2020, Issue


The base of a sculpture celebrating famous German authors at the Bebelplatz square in Berlin (Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters)

Watch Your Language  

In her review of Thomas Mann’s War, by Tobias Boes (“Mann in America,” December 22), Elizabeth Powers writes of Thomas Mann’s literary career as anticipating “the present global publishing market, which increasingly erases the long-established identification of writers with specific languages and literary traditions.” The implication is that when writers “bypass their native publics and market their works to an international readership” in English, they impoverish the culture of their mother tongues.

Another way of looking at this is to argue that these writers were impoverished of a mother tongue to begin with. I, for example, come from an

NR Editors includes members of the editorial staff of the National Review magazine and website.

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