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Thomas Hounds
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Aug 13 2015, 03:57 AM
Golding wasn't awarded the prize for the one book, Jake. The prize is problematic, Golding plus work likewise, but he didn't win for the one book.

(sent from tablet, so to brevity)
Golding primarily won for one book, Lord of the Flies. Maybe to a lesser degree for the attention from To the Ends of the Earth. But I mean, there's no debating that Golding wasn't a controversial choice even at the time. And I truly dislike Lord of the Flies, but admit I haven't read any of his other fiction and that perhaps I should read a book two out of it. As I always though I'm really interested in your opinion. If and win you have time to give I'm interested to hear more.

I think the most problematic thing about the Prize is that it hasn't really changed. The Nobel Prize Committee for Literature is about the slowest changing and probably one of the most out of touch organizations in the literary world, which is what makes me think they could just give the award to Pynchon, who, regardless what you think of his core output, has produced mixed at best work since 1973's controversial Gravity's Rainbow (which Gore Vidal called, in 1974, "the perfect novel to teach" and correctly predicted that generations of American literature MAs and MFAs would be deconstructing and attempting to mimic it), maybe giving Against the Day a pass. I'm returning to my old partisanship here in some ways, but it seems just like the committee to give the award to a writer whose influence is enormous but is now at an age and a distance from his key work that he's in some ways anachronistic to contemporary America (see Against the Day, Mason Dixon, Inherent Vice, which are all set either in America's distant past, or in 1970). But I can't deny I would like to see an American novelist awarded, and certainly don't deny Pynchon's brilliance at what he does, regardless of whether I have in the past found that to jive with my ideals about the novel as a literary form. Better Pynchon than the incredibly dull and self-absorbed Phillip Roth and of course Cormac McCarthy who I have long had strong opinions on. In a way, Thomas Pynchon, Edward Albee (who I don't even know if he's been nominated or up for consideration at all, hard to believe with his 4 Pulitzer prizes, multiple Tony's, and 5 decades of influential and active writing of quirky and subversive plays), and John Ashberry who I think is generally at least up for consideration, are the only really strong American candidates for the award, in my opinion.

I'm also usually intrigued by Ko Un, especially since there has never been a Korean winner of the Nobel despite South Korea's fairly vibrant literary scene and deep literary culture. His poetry is interesting, though I don't admire it as much as Ashberry or Adonis or Shuntaro Tanikawa (Japan's greatest living poet). But again, the Nobel Prize committee has not improved in terms of recognizing non-European languages spoken and read by billions of people. In the last 21 years 13 awards have gone to European writers, 5 to American or South American writers of European descent writing in European languages and just 3 to non-Europeans, Mo Yan, Kenzaburo Oe, and Gao Xinjian, despite the Committees ambition to be a more open and global award, and to connect to the driving issues of the day as well as internationalism.
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Nobel Prize 2015 · General discussion