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Richard Reineccius <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 22 Oct 2009 14:21:31 -0700
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In any U.S. Embassy abroad, and many Consulates, there is someone who is
liaison to university departments teaching American Studies, as well as
larger libraries with international literature collections. The "Public
Diplomacy" section of an embassy is the best contact - try for a start. The main American research library for
Central Europe is at the Embassy in Berlin, which may have more info than
does Moscow, however, as it existed throughout most of the cold war years.
  In my experience teaching at a university in Poland, these Embassy
officers are more than happy to help with questions such as yours, and to
put you in touch with academics who have written for conferences or have
published on American writers. They may also have native citizen
"specialists" in literature and other fields, who don't get rotated out
after a 4-year stint, as do foreign service diplomats. The language of
American topics conferences is more often than not English, or bilingual,
and the publication language is the same.
  The U.S. State Department in recent years has funded numerous American
Libraries in medium and larger cities in Russian and other countries, a
program that started in the Clinton years. They're placed within U or Public
libraries -- I think the first ones were in Russia. These won't have their
shelved books in the country's tongue, but the librarians will know what's
  Translations of Twain are numerous in most of the "Soviet Bloc" countries,
of course, along with Jack London, Hemingway, and the normal catalog of
authors of poetry, prose and drama. As to translations slanted toward the
party line, of course the state publishers, which dominated, and censors
would more likely approve and fund titles and content that seemed to agree
with ideology. If the texts were for school/university study, textbook
committees would review further - same as in our U.S. states. Getting
something past the censors, then as now, is part of the game. By now some
rebels among the academics have surely written on exactly your Communist
Manifesto question.
-Richard R - now in San Francisco