U-M history professor and middle east expert Juan Cole wants to translate the “classics of American thought and literature” into Arabic through something he’s calling the “The Americana in Arabic Library”:
“The classics of American thought and literature have been little translated into Arabic. Worse, even when they have been translated, they have appeared in small editions (typically no more than 500 copies printed). Worse still, the distribution system for Arabic books is poor, and there are few public libraries, so that many books that have been published in the past are no longer available to most readers.
I have therefore decided to begin a project to translate important books by great Americans and about America into Arabic, and to subsidize their publication so that they can be bought inexpensively. I hope also to subsidize their distribution. This is a non-profit project, but until it grows large enough to become a proper foundation, it will not be tax-deductible. … “