Editor’s Note 9.9.13


It’s the beginning of  autumn in the Northern Hemisphere and I’m excited about this blog, launched last month.

Roberto Santiago’s inferno dante essay – one of our August monthly features – was a record-setting poem among readers, with many of you awarding it the Hypothetical ‘star’ and spending time with this intricately crafted narrative. If you haven’t yet,  have a look.

i need to buy a college essayThis month, meet the woman behind the blog: Lauren Westerfield, our associate editor.  Our social media posts that come out of San Diego, California? Those are Lauren’s handiwork, too. She has been a part of brainstorming Hypothetical: A Review of Everything Imaginable since last summer. As a writer, Lauren has published nonfiction such as this luminous mba dissertation writing help in The Rumpus and has work forthcoming in Revolution House.

In last month’s note, I wrote about our creed and the niche we’re seeking to fill.

I’ll leave you this month with some quotes from the editors of Brooklyn-based n+1 as a follow-up . In “World Lit Lite” they lay out an extensive case about politics of categories such as “World Literature” “Global Lit” and “internationalist literature.”  What’s most useful  if you’re new to these debates is the history it provides of the rise of these categories and how they’ve been thought about for centuries.

The editors eviscerate “world lit” as out of touch with reality and a tonic for the global elite – and then explain work produced in a different vein:

“Today’s World Lit is more like a Davos summit where experts, national delegates, and celebrities discuss, calmly and collegially, between sips of bottled water, the terrific problems of a humanity whose predicament they appear to have escaped. There is another path. The historic rival to a World Literature made up of individual national authors was the programmatically internationalist literature of the revolutionary left: journalism, treatises, and speeches, novels, poetry, plays, and memoirs necessarily written in a given vernacular but always aimed at a borderless audience of radicals.”

To undertake a project – as opposed to produce a product, another difference articulated in the essay – requires a constant reflection, re-examination and questioning of one’s assumptions. And, of course, to take pleasure in finding and sharing writing that tells the truth. My message is that we’re striving to do that, and want your input. We’re not naive about our project, but do believe publishing translations is a step in the right direction.

While there was much truth in the n+1 essay, linked on our Facebook page, the inevitable gap in how some traumas seem past in one context but not in another was glaring to me in this quote,

“The obsession with past trauma refracts World Lit’s sense of belatedness, even when the genre advertises its contemporaneity. You can argue that we’re still haunted by Hiroshima or the Holocaust, that people refuse to speak about this haunting — kind of the way they refuse to care about the novel. Past horrors, unlike contemporary ones, also tend to be events liberal readers agree about. But they displace the contemporary world, locating politics always elsewhere, in some distant geography and irrecoverable past. Present day confusions and controversies are neglected or sentimentalized.”

That’s plenty for all of us to chew on for a month, so I’ll see you back here at Editor’s Note in October. Until then, enjoy Lauren’s “Everything Else” curation.


~Cynthia-Marie O’Brien