Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Darryl A. Armstrong

Nobel Prize for Literature...

Recommended Posts

Stephen Schwartz isn't happy about the decision:

THE INFAMOUS SNOBS of the Swedish Academy, brooding in the land of military cowardice, interminable winter, and one of the highest suicide rates in the world, have returned to their habit of awarding the Nobel Prize for Literature to an unknown, undistinguished, leftist fanatic: The 2004 prize has gone to Elfriede Jelinek, of Austria. This time they got a two-fer shot at destroying literary standards, since Jelinek's writings mainly verge on gross pornography.

...the Nobel Prize is bestowed for writing, and one must therefore address Jelinek's publications. In 2002, her novel The Piano Teacher was produced as an Austrian/French film starring Isabelle Huppert. Peter Rainer wrote of it, in New York magazine "Isabelle Huppert plays Erika, a stiff-backed piano instructor at a prestigious Viennese conservatory whose lust for her adoring student Walter (Benoit Magimel) exposes her deeply guarded sadomasochism. 'Do I disgust you?' she asks him after he reads a long letter from her outlining her most depraved fantasies." The novel also features voyeurism and self-mutilation with a razor. At the Frankfurt Book Fair, according to Reuters, "publisher Alexander Fest said [Jelinek's] writing showed 'great courage and huge savagery.' "

Sexual titillation makes a comparison between Elfriede Jelinek and, say, Britney Spears, fair--though any normal person would doubtless prefer the latter's company.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The 2012 Nobel Prize for Literature goes to Chinese author Mo Yan. When announcing the award the Nobel people noted Yan's "hallucinatory realism," which combines "folk tales, history and the contemporary."

They also said:

“Through a mixture of fantasy and reality, historical and social perspectives, Mo Yan has created a world reminiscent in its complexity of those in the writings of William Faulkner and Gabriel García Márquez, at the same time finding a departure point in old Chinese literature and in oral tradition,”

Peter Englund, Nobel permanent secretary, recommends readers start with Yan's 1995 novel, The Garlic Ballads. Currently, this book has 8 reviews on Amazon so it seems to be something of an undiscovered work. Interestingly, the top review, written in January 2001, ends with this: "Years from now, probably when Mo wins a Nobel, I am sure he will have a wide following, but for now, The Garlic Ballads is a novel that cries to be read."

The Garlic Ballads is also available right now for $3.59 for the Kindle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fascinating. I'd never heard of the man, but there's this, from Gavin's linked article:

While his American audience has been limited, a film based on his novel “Red Sorghum” and directed by Zhang Yimou, was one of the most internationally acclaimed Chinese films, seen by millions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fascinating. I'd never heard of the man, but there's this, from Gavin's linked article:

While his American audience has been limited, a film based on his novel “Red Sorghum” and directed by Zhang Yimou, was one of the most internationally acclaimed Chinese films, seen by millions.

I hadn't heard of him either, until today. I've read a little more and "Red Sorghum" is apparently his most well-known work, in part, because of that movie, I think. But I read that the movie actually only covers the first two chapters of the book. Anyway, I hadn't heard of the movie either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cool! I have never read Mo Yan, but I met his translator, Howard Goldblatt, in China a few years ago. Very nice and smart guy.

This is the first literature Nobel for a current citizen of China -- Gao Xingjian won in 2000 but had emigrated to France.

Looking forward to reading something when I get a chance...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The 2012 Nobel Prize for Literature goes to Chinese author Mo Yan. When announcing the award the Nobel people noted Yan's "hallucinatory realism," which combines "folk tales, history and the contemporary."

 

 

I just noticed this: the Kindle edition of Big Breasts and Wide Hips is $2.99 this month on Amazon US. 

Edited by NBooth

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The 2014 prize goes to Patrick Modiano.

 

At a press conference in Paris, the publicity-shy Modiano expressed his surprise at the win and said he was keen to find out why he was chosen.
 
"I wasn't expecting it at all," he said. "It was like I was a bit detached from it all, as if a doppelganger with my name had won."
 
Modiano beat bookies' favourites Japanese writer Haruki Murakami and Kenyan novelist, poet and playwright Ngugi wa Thiong'o. The last French writer to win the prize was Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio in 2008.
 
The academy said the award was "for the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation".

 

A quick glance at Amazon US only shows a few of his books in translation:  Missing Person, Honeymoon, The Search Warrant, Catherine Certitudeand [perhaps] Night Rounds. A collection of novellas titled Suspended Sentences is available for pre-order.

Edited by NBooth

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jacobin takes issue with the Nobel Prize for Literature:

 

When the Nobel committee chooses a writer, they do not discuss his or her work as a manifestation of contradictory social or historical forces. They do not present it as a filtering and highlighting of particular social codes. Instead, they very clearly support the idealist image of the writer as a lone source and engine of creative innovations, as an expressive being whose authentic originality results in unique works of art.

 

Scott Esposito takes issue with Jacobin:

 

It’s not that I think Brouillette is completely off the mark here, just that there’s a lot about her thesis that just feels too easy, as though some of the most popular concepts from Continental philosophy (now who’s Euro-centric?) were applied to the Prize without much consideration. It’s true that the Prize does seem to aspire to a degree of world cosmopolitanism, which may explain why a number of sleeper candidates never seem to win. (Although this doesn’t explain why the most transnational, locationless, globally palatable author in the world keeps getting denied the Prize.)
Edited by NBooth

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...