"Of course there is powerful literature in all big cultures, but you can't get away from the fact that Europe still is the centre of the literary world … not the United States,"
As you might imagine, the US literature world (which is dying you know) struck back with Robert Kimball noting that the Nobel prizes are due to be announced in 48 hours and this sounds like some coy publicity stunt.
"It strikes me as a kind of publicity stunt for a prize that in recent years has demonstrated its fatuousness and political complexion with one political laureate after the next punctuated now and then by a VS Naipaul just to lend a patina of credibility."
It's probably bit of both. Engdahl's disdain for US literature is probably truthful as his desire to puff up the importance of a prize that seems not to get the public acclaim that it might have before. Frankly, unless some hot young thing is going to win the Nobel prize for literature, it's not likely to be important to mainstream America no matter how insulting some guy from Scandinavia is.