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Nobel Prize 2015
Topic Started: Aug 6 2015, 05:42 PM (21,699 Views)
Didi
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I thought to start this thread early (and maybe lure our resident Swede back here whose comments are absolutely essential)

My prediction is that Thomas Pynchon will win the Nobel Prize for 2015. My secondary prediction is that he will turn up and claim the prize.

Firstly I think he deserves it and secondly, I have seen in the past year or so a significant increase in using his works as a comparison (“Pynchon-like” et al) in assessing other great/good works.

I think it is also important to assess the Academy, the decision makers and in this regard there have been two main changes.

I previously made in Triv. Obs. thread : “With Englund stepping down in May as PS for Nobel P for L (as planned) it will be interesting to see what influence the new PS, Prof Sara Danius will have – a wild, early prediction given her background, her influences etc is that the award will be given to a US author of the likes of Pynchon. For instance, Frederic Jameson includes Pynchon on his shortlist of exemplary postmodernists.”

And it seems the newest member of the Academy, voting for the first time, Klas Östergren, may have been influenced by Pynchon (for instance his book Gentlemen has been compared to Pynchon’s works and the film based on that novel has a “Bleeding Edge” feel to it).

I may have to read Gentlemen out of interest to confirm the comparison.

See for example http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/gentlemen-toronto-review-730814
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nnyhav
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opening Ladbrokes odds (not unlike closing odds last year methinks):
5/1 Svetlana Aleksijevitj
6/1 Haruki Murakami
7/1 Ngugi Wa Thiong'o
8/1 Philip Roth
12/1 Joyce Carol Oates
16/1 Adunis , Ismail Kadare
20/1 Jon Fosse, Ko Un, Peter Handke
25/1 Amos Oz, Marilynne Robinson. Peter Nadas, Ursula Le Guin
33/1 David Malouf, John Banville, Lydia Davis, Milan Kundera, Nawal El Saadawi, Peter Carey, Thomas Pynchon
50/1 A B Yehoshua. A S Byatt, Adam Zagajewski, Antonio Lobo Antunes, Bei Dao, Bob Dylan, Cees Nooteboom, Colm Toibin, Cormac McCarthy, Daniel Kahneman, Darcia Maraini, Don DeLillo, Don Paterson, E L Doctorow, Eduardo Mendoza Garriga, Eeva Kilpi, Enrique Vila-Matas, F Sioni Jose, Hilary Mantel, Ian McEwan, James Kelman, Javier Marias, Joan Didion, John Ashbery, Juan Goytisolo, Juan Marse, Karel Schoeman, Karl Ove Knausgard, Kjell Askildsen, Leonard Nolens, Les Murray, Margaret Atwood, Merethe Lindstrom, Mia Couto, Michel Tournier, Mircea Cartarescu, Neil Gaiman, Nuruddin Farah, Paul Muldoon, Richard Ford, Rohinton Mistry, Salman Rushdie, Tom Stoppard, Umberto Eco, William Trevor, Yan Lianke, Yevgeniy Yevtushenko, Yves Bonnefoy
200/1 E L James
can't take it seriously much, but moves in coming weeks will bear attention

my carryovers from prior predictions include Ngugi Wa Thiong'o; Ismail Kadare; Adonis, Ko Un, or Bei Dao ... and that it won't go to anyone writing in English
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Cleanthes
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What, is it Nobel time already? Maaan, I need to head over to my other job at the WWLF...
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Didi
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Cleanthes
Aug 6 2015, 06:58 PM
What, is it Nobel time already? Maaan, I need to head over to my other job at the WWLF...
yeh they prompted me to start (ed: 43 posts and counting over there)
Edited by Didi, Aug 6 2015, 10:13 PM.
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Funhouse
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Well, I'm going to throw in Gerald Murnane again. After appearing quite high in the odds a few years back he's dropped off the Ladbrokes list the last couple of years. He's got another new book out this year, he's more prolific than he's ever been, he's on the cover of the latest ABR, he's been fairly well translated into Swedish, and he's innovative. What's not to like?

But I'd be more than happy with Pynchon as well...

Posted Image
Edited by Funhouse, Aug 6 2015, 10:37 PM.
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Didi
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yes he's our local favourite no doubt

the article in the ABR mentions that an edition of the prestigious journal, ARTES, published by the Swedish Academy, was devoted to Murnane, an old one dating back to 2002, but interested to see what they wrote about him then.
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Didi
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snapshot eg. 12% women; 4% non-fiction (hist/phil)

http://topaussiewriters.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Nobel-Prize-in-Literature.jpg

edit - not done the math, but odds listing appears not too far off historical stats.
Edited by Didi, Aug 11 2015, 12:41 AM.
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nnyhav
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besides (and even before) Murnane, the most notable omission on Ladbrokes list is Kraznahorkai
(Khoury's one that didn't get carried over, dunno why ...)
any other plausible off-listers that I'm overlooking too?

(oh and of course Doctorow's no longer ... eligible)
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Didi
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Maybe a sure thing with K – but really a major omission there
seems to be some changes over time when previous years are looked at but no one major at first glance

edit: still thinking US winner, maybe Vollman should be on the betting list, haven't read his last so cannot ascertain if this pushes him a little further up the chain.
Edited by Didi, Aug 10 2015, 10:45 PM.
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Bloß ein Língshān
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Here's Englund's (very long since updated) LibraryThing. A cursory glance yields some names (not listing Scandinavian authors, as Tranströmer most likely precludes them):

Tournier (though Modiano...)
Murakami
Kundera
Marías
Eco
Handke
Roth
Wolfe
Pynchon
Amis
Ellroy

http://www.librarything.com/catalog/Poltava
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oneofmurphysbiscuits
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, i'm sure the beauteous Laszlo will win sooner rather than later but not yet, why they keep trotting out the Oates woman is beyond me. Ashbery might.
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Didi
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Aug 11 2015, 01:28 PM
Here's Englund's (very long since updated) LibraryThing.
thanks, interesting listing, unaware of its existence. Numbers with a few, Marias, Eco, Wolfe for this closed history.

and agree Sharon,
if they are going for poets Ashbery has to be in the running
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Thomas Hounds
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It would be nice to see a poet win. Adonis remain my top choice for a poet; even with the difficulties of translating Arabic poetry into English, his style and use of words pops off the page, and to me, it's increasingly important to break down the overwhelming whiteness of the literati, especially at the highest levels of recognition where white European and white American authors still get the vast majority of recognition. The Nobel has been exceptionally Euro-centric as well. If an America were to win it, my top choices remain John Ashberry, who is a brilliant poet, or the aging playwright Edward Albee who is also a postmodernist figure and one quite important in theater for a long time in America (the play as a literary form is also highly underrepresented by the Nobel prize in modern times at least). A shame Gore Vidal never won the Nobel as I can only imagine what kind of Nobel Prize speech he would have given.

But back to Adonis, no one else in the world, not currently awarded, has had anywhere near the influence Adonis has had on an entire regional language group's poetry; Adonis has had an enormous and far-reaching influence in Arabic poetry. It seems criminal to not recognize his enormous contributions to the stylistic developments and the immense beauty of his work, and he is getting older each year.

I'm still unsure how Haruki Murakami returns to the list year after year. The thing is, his works are translated first into English where publishers take huge liberties to make large cuts to the text, remove endings, remove entire pages of stuff they deem unneeded in order to streamline him (just read up on it, there have been some good articles about how Murakami in the West is largely the product of some heavy handed editing and rewriting on the part of a few ambitious and well-connected translators and writers), and then in Europe he is either read in English, or in translations made from the English editions. The thing is, Murakami is not particularly highly regarded in Japan; he's sort of more of a pop novelist here, but even at a popular level opinions are sharply divided and among the intelligentsia Murakami is not highly regarded. For a number of reasons. He uses very little kanji and only a basic level of kanji at that, which means he fails at one of the basic dimensions present in Japanese writing, in terms of style. I continually here from well-read Japanese people that Murakami's style is sort of ordinary, nothing very special, and not exactly innovative. Then there's the added critique that Murakami has this big role as international bestseller and popular novelist and is yet highly apolitial in his writing and in his public life, especially compared to the staunch moral activism of say, Kenzaburo Oe (who has an incredibly distinctive style that almost destroys traditional Japanese language use with its bluntness and complexity). It's fairly common to see Murakami not even make top 5 list of best living Japanese authors in rankings made by other Japanese authors or critics. In fact, this is an insight of mine that has only been confirmed several times since I've come to Japan, "Oe, what he does, is genius, he is genius" and "Murakami, he is notvery important." Japanese readers are far more likely to admire Kinkakuji by Mishima, or Kobo Abe or Oe, or even the other Murakami, Ryu Murakami who wrote Coin Locker Babies and other brutal works of fiction challenging moral consensuses and tackling contemporary issues in Japan. I haven't read some of Haruki's most praised works like Kafka on the Shore, but I wasn't impressed with The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (and how much of Murakami I was reading versus U.S. editors, I am not sure on, one translator said, and I'm not exactly sure because he was speaking Japanese at the time, that over 100 pages was cut from the Japanese version to the English version).

But I'm glad to see it's Nobel season again. It reminds me of old times.
Edited by Thomas Hounds, Aug 11 2015, 07:33 PM.
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Cleanthes
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The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture anime dealt with a group of college students who created a club dedicated to the discussion of cartoons, video games, comic books and other modern visual cultural artifacts.

In the show's second season, titled Genshiken Nidaime, this one character, who graduated from college and became a hard working salaryman, notices that the comic book convention, Comiket, begins the next day. Harunobu Madarame then realizes that he doesn't care anymore about something that had obsessed him in the past: work's daily grind has sapped his soul away.

That's how I've felt about Nobel season this year so far. But bearing in mind that we must "illegitimi non carborundum", let me give a shout out to my main women Olga Tokarczuk, Ana Blandiana, Celine Minard, Natsuo Kirino, Can Xue, Adelia Prado, Cristina Fernandez Cubas and Cynthia Ozick. Anyone of them would make a worthy Nobel Prize winner.
Edited by Cleanthes, Aug 11 2015, 07:47 PM.
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Bloß ein Língshān
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Thomas Hounds
Aug 11 2015, 07:25 PM

I'm still unsure how Haruki Murakami returns to the list year after year. The thing is, his works are translated first into English where publishers take huge liberties to make large cuts to the text, remove endings, remove entire pages of stuff they deem unneeded in order to streamline him (just read up on it, there have been some good articles about how Murakami in the West is largely the product of some heavy handed editing and rewriting on the part of a few ambitious and well-connected translators and writers), and then in Europe he is either read in English, or in translations made from the English editions. The thing is, Murakami is not particularly highly regarded in Japan; he's sort of more of a pop novelist here, but even at a popular level opinions are sharply divided and among the intelligentsia Murakami is not highly regarded. For a number of reasons. He uses very little kanji and only a basic level of kanji at that, which means he fails at one of the basic dimensions present in Japanese writing, in terms of style. I continually here from well-read Japanese people that Murakami's style is sort of ordinary, nothing very special, and not exactly innovative. Then there's the added critique that Murakami has this big role as international bestseller and popular novelist and is yet highly apolitial in his writing and in his public life, especially compared to the staunch moral activism of say, Kenzaburo Oe (who has an incredibly distinctive style that almost destroys traditional Japanese language use with its bluntness and complexity). It's fairly common to see Murakami not even make top 5 list of best living Japanese authors in rankings made by other Japanese authors or critics. In fact, this is an insight of mine that has only been confirmed several times since I've come to Japan, "Oe, what he does, is genius, he is genius" and "Murakami, he is notvery important." Japanese readers are far more likely to admire Kinkakuji by Mishima, or Kobo Abe or Oe, or even the other Murakami, Ryu Murakami who wrote Coin Locker Babies and other brutal works of fiction challenging moral consensuses and tackling contemporary issues in Japan. I haven't read some of Haruki's most praised works like Kafka on the Shore, but I wasn't impressed with The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (and how much of Murakami I was reading versus U.S. editors, I am not sure on, one translator said, and I'm not exactly sure because he was speaking Japanese at the time, that over 100 pages was cut from the Japanese version to the English version).

But I'm glad to see it's Nobel season again. It reminds me of old times.
Murakami and Oe have quite the spat. The former seems similar to Joël Dicker and his La Vérité sur l’Affaire Harry Quebert. A large majority of people believe that complex books are not pleasurable, are boring, and are not worth the effort, so when an "easy" writer gets heaped with accolades, many are comfortable with singing the panegyrics, finally feeling they can express their opinions with the prestige to lambast the naysayers. I remember checking out a book of Murakami's in Japanese, and the librarian, who spoke Japanese, immediately gushed about him and said how great Murakami is for getting people to love Japan and its language. I had to confess that I much preferred Oe's oeuvre, but I wanted to give Murakami a third chance. "Much too intellectual. A French poser." Ouch. I suppose Murakami's hatred for Oe infects his fans, as well.

Though, I have to point out that Murakami's lack of Kanji isn't an inherent failure. Writing a novel entirely in Hiragana and Katakana can be absolutely luminous, very beguiling, and magnificently recondite (since you're not sure which word is really being used). Have you looked into abさんご ?


Quote:
 
The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture anime dealt with a group of college students who created a club dedicated to the discussion of cartoons, video games, comic books and other modern visual cultural artifacts.

In the show's second season, titled Genshiken Nidaime, this one character, who graduated from college and became a hard working salaryman, notices that the comic book convention, Comiket, begins the next day. Harunobu Madarame then realizes that he doesn't care anymore about something that had obsessed him in the past: work's daily grind has sapped his soul away.


Feeling similarly. When you already have a diuturnal backlog of books you want to get to, you feel less and less inclined to join with Nobel guidance. Quite fascinating to see how unactive this thread is compared to the one over at World Literature and how that forum had been disused for months before its creation.
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Thomas Hounds
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I enjoy the occasional bit of playful bickering, though I do see the Nobel Prize as an award of considerable importance, if only for the prestige and media it provides. I've actually gotten to the point where reading stuff entirely in hiragana and katakana now poses its own problems, which is that sometimes the words aren't clear or it isn't clear where the divisions between words are. I didn't know that you were pretty fluent in Japanese though. I'm still very much an intermediate level person, and barely that when it comes to reading it.

But Oe as a "French poser" that's some huge bullshit, and it's certainly not reflective of broader consensus opinion on him.The librarian may well have been right wing in their politics, since the nationalist right-wing crowd despises Oe for his attacks on the Japanese military establishment and brutal forays into critiquing Japanese conduct towards minorities and dissidents. Sure Oe does have plenty of French influences, but the man is ridiculous well read, and not just in French but also English and Italian (though his speaking ability is apparently really bad). John Nathan wrote that Oe, from reading Auden only in the original English, had brought him to new insights in the poet. And Oe also has a huge deal of love for Selma Lagerlof and her Wondrous Adventures of Nils, as well as Huckleberry Finn, two novels that seem as much as anything to influence him. I would say it's also clear that he has an intimate sense of Japanese tradition, and older Japanese writers and is in some ways representing a violent gap between them and contemporary Japan and has been doing so for decades. Maybe I'm being defensive because Oe is my favorite living writer, but he's a complex and original stylist, and more importantly, has a nuanced and often destructive moral vision and pessimism that interrogates the darkness and the vivid subjectiveness of life.
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nnyhav
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Aug 11 2015, 10:02 PM
Quote:
 
The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture anime dealt with a group of college students who created a club dedicated to the discussion of cartoons, video games, comic books and other modern visual cultural artifacts.

In the show's second season, titled Genshiken Nidaime, this one character, who graduated from college and became a hard working salaryman, notices that the comic book convention, Comiket, begins the next day. Harunobu Madarame then realizes that he doesn't care anymore about something that had obsessed him in the past: work's daily grind has sapped his soul away.


Feeling similarly. When you already have a diuturnal backlog of books you want to get to, you feel less and less inclined to join with Nobel guidance. Quite fascinating to see how unactive this thread is compared to the one over at World Literature and how that forum had been disused for months before its creation.
I'm glad that WLF now has something to talk about. And I'm glad to be talking about it here. But looking at our past Nobel threads, we talked about it a lot more in 2011 and 2012.

The Mookse and the Gripes forum seems to think other prizes matter more. (As far as BTBA is concerned, me too: more current, more rewarding to speculate upon [if not for the winners], adds more to the reading list.*) The Nobel has broader reach despite its quirks (like Francocentrism), more a barometer of a certain segment of European literary tastes (upper middlebrow, left slightly raised) than a pantheon (for which there are too many worthies). Which makes it kindasorta interesting to follow from that angle (and of course there's the geopolitical one: it's the one countries care about). Unfortunately the Ladbrokes listing doesn't provide guidance out of the gate anymore, since they've lost the services of Magnus Puke, and since leaks into it have been plugged, moves on it won't signal a winner.

* but the Nobel did add Modiano last year to mine (thx) and others, see authread
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Didi
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The Nobel prize prediction or speculation process is, I guess, fun and games as we try to interpret the influences, the thinking of a small group of learned individuals from one country governed by a broad principle or we put forth an argument as to why an author/poet should win. At times, there is a staleness as the same authors, arguments are regurgitated year after year (and we are all guilty of that)- but it is not always the case. I benefit from the speculation process more that the announcement (as is the case with other awards)– both discoveries and ceasing wrongful neglect through analysis provided by others here. I also enjoy revisiting the speculations of the past as well eg: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1966/10/nobels-hits-and-misses/305482/ and taking a historical perspective.

With all its faults and limitations, and there are many, the Nobel is undeniably the most prestigious prize from a global perspective. Yet, it is just a prize, a recognition, a badge, nothing more, doesn't add colour to the story, poem in ink.
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Didi
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why Pynchon has not won ? one perspective:

“With the important caveat that negative or mixed literary reviews can often be more entertaining and instructive than wholly positive ones, it seems William Deresiewicz’s assessment of Tom McCarthy’s novelistic output could be boiled down to two words: bad Pynchon... One suspects the real reason Thomas Pynchon has never been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature is not that he hasn’t proved hugely influential on subsequent generations of writers, but rather that he has—and with largely unfortunate results.

Unlike the still-growing crop of (almost exclusively male) postmodern creators of boring, inelegant, ponderous, theory-driven doorstop novels, Pynchon’s first books, V. and The Crying of Lot 49, carry their poststructuralism lightly and crackle with wit, satire, and well-crafted riffs on cultural-historical moments past. Since then, a whole subindustry of academic creative writing grinds ever forward, devoted to failed attempts at rewriting Pynchon’s 1973 masterpiece, Gravity’s Rainbow”

per http://www.thenation.com/article/letters-514/
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suzannahhh
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I'd be madly joyous with
Javier
or
Laslo
or
T. Ruggles

all definitely worthy
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