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Thread: Nobel Literature Prize

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    Friend of Gossip Rocks! buttmunch's Avatar
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    Default Nobel Literature Prize

    Well, it's that time of year again and I'm wondering who you think will win and does a yank have a shot, after the comments made by the Academy Secretary? I've been waiting for Philip Roth to win for years but after Horace Engdahl yammered on in an interview about how lame American writers are compared to European writers, I'm thinking it's another no go this year. I may have to post the interview since it was pretty dumb.

    Anyway, any thoughts on who might win this year?
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

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    Harumph. I can't believe 24 people have viewed this thread and not one person put forth a name. Just two more days to the announcement so get your guesses in while you still can! Polling closes Thursday, 1pm, GMT.
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Danielle Steele? You know perfectly well hell will freeze over before they select an American writer. Some of their selections are so strange anyway-they seem to love obscure and odd writers we never heard of and certainly haven't read. If Phillip Roth actually (ever) wins I am pretty sure Las Vegas betting would shut down. I think the Italian Claudio Margris or Japanese Haruki Murakami ,this year. I choose Murakami. But maybe he is too-umm-easy to read. Or maybe too likable-won't have long to wait.
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    ^^^
    i'd be glad if either haruki murakami or ryű murakami win, both are fantastic though ryű is possibly a better writer.

    i'd like it if philip roth won. i don't really think there is an anti-american bias, just that it is a global litterature award and they have to be somewhat representative.
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    Nobel literature prize judge: American authors 'insular and ignorant'

    American authors are too "insular and ignorant" to compete with their European counterparts, according to a member of the Nobel judging panel.


    As the Swedish Academy enters final deliberations for this year's literature award, permanent secretary Horace Engdahl said that writers from the country that produced Philip Roth, John Updike, Ernest Hemingway and F Scott Fitzgerald were "too sensitive to trends in their own mass culture," dragging down the quality of their work.

    "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," he said.

    "The US is too isolated, too insular. They don't translate enough and don't really participate in the big dialogue of literature. That ignorance is restraining."

    Although Mr Engdahl insisted later he had been misunderstood by the Associated Press, with whom he conducted the interview, the chances of the two American authors, Philip Roth and Joyce Carol Oates, thought to be on this year's secret five-person shortlist now look slim.

    His comments were met with outrage among figures in the US industry that published more than 50,000 works of fiction last year.
    Harold Augenbraum, executive director of US National Book Foundation said: "Put him in touch with me, and I'll send him a reading list.

    "Such a comment makes me think that Mr Engdahl has read little of American literature outside the mainstream and has a very narrow view of what constitutes literature in this age."

    But David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker magazine, said they came as little surprise since the 16-member Nobel award jury had historically overlooked some of the world's best authors.

    "You would think that the permanent secretary of an academy that pretends to wisdom but has historically overlooked Proust, Joyce, and Nabokov, to name just a few non-Nobelists, would spare us the categorical lectures," he said.

    "And if he looked harder at the American scene that he dwells on, he would see the vitality in the generation of Roth, Updike, and DeLillo, as well as in many younger writers, some of them sons and daughters of immigrants writing in their adopted English. None of these poor souls, old or young, seem ravaged by the horrors of Coca-Cola."

    However, his criticism was given some backing by a French publishing magnate, who declined to be named.

    "It is true that American publishers rarely buy books in translation from foreign languages. That is to America's shame and also its loss," he said.

    "But that does not mean all American contemporary literature is parochial or ignorant.

    "Yes, it sometimes seems that the typical American novel is about a writer who has six friends who also happen to be writers. But there are also excellent modern American authors."

    The last American to win the Nobel prize was Toni Morrison, the author of The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon, and Beloved, in 1993 before Mr Engdahl took charge. As permanent secretary, he is a voting member of and spokesman for the secretive panel that selects the winners of what many consider the most prestigious award in literature.

    The academy often picks obscure writers and hardly ever selects best-selling authors. It regularly faces accusations of snobbery, political bias and even poor taste.

    Since Japanese writer Kenzaburo Oe won the award in 1994, the selections have had a distinctly European flavour. Nine of the subsequent laureates were Europeans, including last year's winner, Briton Doris Lessing, who wrote The Grass is Singing and The Golden Notebook.

    Of the other four, one was from Turkey and the others from South Africa, China and Trinidad. All had strong ties to Europe.

    Mr Engdahl said Europe draws literary exiles because it "respects the independence of literature" and can serve as a safe haven.

    "Very many authors who have their roots in other countries work in Europe, because it is only here where you can be left alone and write, without being beaten to death," he said. "It is dangerous to be an author in big parts of Asia and Africa."

    But he insisted that his views on national prose had no bearing on the panel's decision, which is expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

    "The Nobel prize is not a contest between nations but an award to individual authors," he said.

    The eventual winner of the prize will receive a one million euro purse, a gold medal and a diploma. The awards are handed out December 10, the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel's death in 1896.

    Nobel literature prize judge: American authors 'insular and ignorant' - Telegraph

    Philip Roth won't win, but Toni Morrison has a Nobel......what a sad statement. Perfectly illustrates how little the prize means.
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    that member is a moron, if he was quoted correctly. the US has always had some amazing writers.

    i agree toni morrison is overrated but overall i don't think the nobel picks have been that bad overall. yes, a lot of amazing authors have been overlooked but that happens with all prizes.
    and the US does have 12 nobel laureates (even though some winners had several nationalities, including US). that's not bad at all, considering it's a global prize.
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    Overall the Academy does a decent job choosing winners, although the loony Austrian woman a few years back was highly questionable. I was happy with Lessing last year and wouldn't mind Atwood winning. By the way, Swedes are the most Americanized of Europe yet highly critical of the yanks. They don't like to hear that, though.
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    ^^^
    lol 'tis true. the irish can be very americanised as well.

    and i love the crazy austrian lady. she's definitely not one for the mainstream but she's a wonderful writer.
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    ^^You think? Was it you I had a discussion with about this when she won? I just can't get into her and think she was a misguided choice, considering all the others out there. Anyway, not much longer to go until the announcement. I'm guessing they won't be carrying it live here so it's Swedish Radio for me.
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
    --Sinclair Lewis

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    Personally, I wouldn't nominate Philip Roth because I don't particularly enjoy his work. Most of it is like wading through treacle (eg, The Human Stain) and he seriously needs to get a sense of humour. I absolutely don't believe that writers should get a prize just because they've written a lot of books (highbrow or lowbrow).

    I've read a few books this year via my real life book club (the GR book club is a lost cause) and none of them have really caught my imagination. Part of the problem is that I tend to pick non-fiction anyway (biograpy, history, real life crime, etc) so I'm not up to date on literature.
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    No no no A*O! Tell me you don't think this! Roth is absolutely hilarious and so bloody fantastic that I can hardly stand it. He is my absolute hero in writing and has given me more pleasure and things to think about than any other. To me he's like Gogol and Kafka and all those Rusky dudes rolled into one. He made me think in new ways. Gah....I must talk to you privately about this and help you see the light. Human Stain wasn't as great as everyone went on about but I Married a Communist, Portnoy's Complaint, Zuckerman Bound, American Pastoral....he has written so many great ones. AND HE MUST WIN IN LESS THAN ONE HOUR OR THE ACADEMY WILL BE GETTING YET ANOTHER LETTER FROM BUTTMUNCH.
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
    --Sinclair Lewis

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    LOL i think roth is absolutely hilarious as well.
    i think we did have this discussion last year, but anyhoo, i don't know if the crazy austrian lady is who i would have chosen for the nobel, but i don't think she was a bad choice. in any case she fits right into the tradition of gloomy melancholic austrian writers like thomas bernhard, but with a crazy i-hate-the-world-and-have-to-hide-from-it twist.
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    i just saw on the news: le clezio won!
    it's not roth, but i absolutely adore him. what a great pick.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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    Haven't read him...any suggestions on where to start?
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
    --Sinclair Lewis

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    i started with 'onitsha' because i had to read it in high school but his most well-known books are 'le procčs-verbal' (the interrogation), 'désert' (desert) and 'le chercheur d'or (the prospector). he also wrote a biography of diego rivera and frida kahlo called 'diego et frida'.
    and i have a soft spot for 'mondo et autres histoires', which was made into a lovely movie by tony gatlif Mondo (1995)
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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