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Nobel Prize 2015
Topic Started: Aug 6 2015, 05:42 PM (21,670 Views)
Didi
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"Trivial" observation:

Combined African & Asian past winners equate with Swedish winners.

Would like to see more winners from these two continents representing 5.5 billion people (Sw less than 10m)

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Thomas Hounds
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And only one Arabic writer has ever won the award is Naguib Mahfouz. The Nobel Prize is really a problematic pile of shit in many ways. Awarding one hit wonders of not-so impressive novels like Golding, while passing up titanic figures of great genius like Graham Greene, never giving the award to an American poet, an over-emphasis on political refugees and on Scandinavian literature, etc etc. Yet it till carries a certain media frenzy and prestige, though arguably I'd like to see another more prominent award created, one judged by a truly international panel of literary figures from around the world.
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Didi
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an outsider chance for the prize: Mexican (Fr born) Elena Poniatowska (won Cervantes prize due to her "brilliant literary trajectory in diverse genera, her special style in narrative and her exemplary dedication to journalism, her outstanding work and her firm commitment to contemporary history.").
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Didi
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some African outsiders: Ben Okri popular in the past and less talked about in recent years within this context. Pepetela, Heteronym has raised this in the past and not to be completely discounted. Less chance for someone like Stockenström I think.
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oneofmurphysbiscuits
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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)
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Thomas Hounds
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oneofmurphysbiscuits
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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oneofmurphysbiscuits
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read the academy blurb even if you can't be arsed to read anything besides the most well known :)
That apart i don't really care about who wins what or get excited about :)
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byrd
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Thomas Hounds
Aug 13 2015, 06:37 AM
Pynchon, who, regardless what you think of his core output, has produced mixed at best work since 1973's controversial Gravity's Rainbow [...], maybe giving Against the Day a pass.
Awww...Mason & Dixon and Against the Day are definitely way better than mixed at best!

But that's just, like, your opinion, man. :)

I don't mind who wins this year, as long as it's Pynchon.
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Funhouse
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Yeah, Golding was hardly a one hit wonder. And I think given the nature of the prize it's pointless to complain about people who miss out. We could easily come up with a list of 50 or more worthy recipients for this year's prize yet the majority of them will never get it because they will die before their turn comes up. It's always been that way...
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sub-pet
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i wish people would stop using the term 'worthy' (w/r/t to prizes but also just in general)
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Bloß ein Língshān
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@Thomas
Quote:
 
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.


LOL. Yes, no need to defend him to me; I agree with you completely, and I've read the essays Nathan's written about him. Still intrigued about that whole scandal of his recounting Mishima [fictitiously?] calling Oe's wife a cunt. The best part about the librarian: "Oh, and if he loves Sartre so much, why didn't he refuse the prize like his idol? HMM? Because he's so hypocritical!"

@nnyhav -- Yea', I'm happy between the three forums there's a wide diversity of discussions. Too bad there's not a fourth that discusses all the other big, country-based awards, like Cervantes, Mao Dun, Akutagawa, Mahfouz, Soyinka, &c. (Hope you get to read La Place de l'étoile soon. Can't believe I'm almost at the age when he wrote that...nor can I imagine someone around me doing so, ha.)

@DiDi -- That first paragraph of that article reads a lot like a leitmotif of Markson's Reader's Block (the novel wherein he furtively whispers about the Nobel).

@suzannahhh -- Which Marías' do you like? I've read and disliked El hombre sentimental & Corazón tan blanco, so I'm uneasy about attempting the trilogy.

Poor Golding being solely linked to Flies. Reminds me of this Eco quote:

Quote:
 

The Name of the Rose made Eco's reputation as a novelist, but it has also proved difficult to match. "Sometimes I say I hate The Name of the Rose," he admits, "because the following books maybe were better. But it happens to many writers. Gabriel Garcia Marquez can write 50 books, but he will be remembered always for Cien Aos de Soledad [One Hundred Years of Solitude]. Every time I publish a new novel, sales of The Name of the Rose go up. What is the reaction? ‘Ah, a new book of Eco. But I have never read The Name of the Rose.' Which, by the way, costs less because it is in paperback." He laughs, as he frequently does. Eco's great virtue is that he is an intellectual who doesn't take himself too seriously. Life, like fiction, is a wonderful game.


That decade was lovely for recognizing literary inventiveness like Simon (who, unfortunately, had a fantastically bigoted quarrel with Oe), Mahfouz, Cela, Canetti, and, yes, Golding: look for The Spire and Darkness Visible, among others. They're certainly neither conventional in technique nor story-lines (forced male castration!). Actually, your reasoning for liking Oe, "pessimism that interrogates the darkness and the vivid subjectiveness of life," parallels with Golding in those two.



What does everything think about the Nobel going to more than one author a year? Yay/nay?
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Thomas Hounds
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oneofmurphysbiscuits
Aug 13 2015, 07:10 AM
read the academy blurb even if you can't be arsed to read anything besides the most well known :)
That apart i don't really care about who wins what or get excited about :)
I can't help but feel a little miffed, but maybe that's a difference between American and English dialects. Since when have Nobel blurbs meant anything at all though? They are vague and very laconic, and I've read most of them.

Quote:
 
for his novels which, with the perspicuity of realistic narrative art and the diversity and universality of myth, illuminate the human condition in the world of today


What is that supposed to tell me? Well I guess there is his neanderthal book which does look interesting. I will probably end up buying that one.

@Bloss So you can read Murakami in Japanese? You've also reversed the story. It was John Nathan who was at a party and was stunned to watch Oe, drunk, walk up to Yukio Mishima's wife and angrily call her a cunt, in English. Anyway, The Day He Himself Shall Wipe Away Our Tears is fantastic, it might be the best novel by a living author (or novella if you will), and Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids is also raw but incredible. I've read about half a dozen novellas and novels by Oe so far, and I for the life of me can't find any sort of obtuse obsession with Sartre that defines his novels. Quite frankly there is far more of Huck Finn in them than fucking Sartre.

Please do enlighten me on Claude Simon's bigoted argument with Oe. Never heard about it. Though Simons The Acacia was one of the unread books I brought with me to Japan. It's other counterparts in fiction are Cervantes, Moby Dick, Crime and Punishment, and The Glass Bead Game, and The Master and the Margarita. An assortment of novels I've just never gotten around to.
Edited by Thomas Hounds, Aug 13 2015, 10:40 AM.
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roger
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I'm with Sharon as I don't really care who wins awards, and I'm not nearly well-read enough in contemporary literature to have an opinion. I would like to see Pynchon win, though, as he has given me the most pleasure of those I've read. I had hoped he would win before Professor Irwin Corey passed away, he had picked up Pynchon's NBA award with double-talking mania. Pynchon's humor can be seen as subversive but also silly and I expect the serious minded judges look askance at such low comedy.

.
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Thomas Hounds
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Cela is an author I've heard almost nothing about. The 80s picks who I'm really interested in/fond of are Milosz, Mahfouz, and Marquez.
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oneofmurphysbiscuits
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@ Jake, you went in for an overarching statement and got called on it, and not just by me. I'm tired, in pain (you well know what effort it costs me to type at length; i'm more than a little disappointed that you seem to have forgotten the many hours that i've spent in helping to edit your fiction, this because when sometthing is dear to my heart I do my best to make good on my promises) Golding isn't for you, read him or no, it doesn't matter to me, so to the levity and brevity of my postings about nd alongside techy contingies.

well pissed off, but a lesson learned I suppose
Edited by oneofmurphysbiscuits, Aug 13 2015, 11:15 AM.
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nnyhav
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Jake, I had long consigned Golding to the bin based on Lord of the Flies without ever even having read it, but {{{{Sharon}}}} brought me round (thx again), to the ones Bloß ein Língshān mentioned, and Pincher Martin, and I'll have a go at the trilogy soon. But never ever LotF (nor Salinger's Catcher in the Rye, for similar reasons [while agreeing with Nabokov on "A Perfect Day for Bananafish"]) ... yeah YMMV

I'd love to see Pynchon win, but I figure it's something like Graham Greene's candidacy. Others I favor: Eco, Krasznahorkai ... maybe Aira has an outside shot ... Ashbery, Cartarescu, Stoppard ... but any of my carryover predictions upthread would be just fine with me.
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Cleanthes
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roger
Aug 13 2015, 10:37 AM
I would like to see Pynchon win, though, as he has given me the most pleasure of those I've read. I had hoped he would win before Professor Irwin Corey passed away, he had picked up Pynchon's NBA award with double-talking mania. Pynchon's humor can be seen as subversive but also silly and I expect the serious minded judges look askance at such low comedy.

.
Roger, good point. Levity, playfulness and humor being considered as negatives helps explain why writers of delightful fiction like Peter Esterhazy, Pynchon (heck, even Nabokov) are passed over for the Nobel.
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Didi
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On South Korea, thanks to Dalkey, there is a growing awareness of South Koreans, a host of writers new to the English readership which I hope to sample down the track. As per last year, Hwang Sok-Yong is the South Korean choice for me, easily amongst the top east asian contemporary authors, but I do not think there will be any consideration here by the Academy and it will only be Ko-Un who stands a chance.
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Didi
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Thomas Hounds, I think Bloß, was referring to this:

Oe, Simon’s war of words, a public spat, over nuclear, extracted here: http://www.revue-bancal.fr/analyses/litterature-querelle-de-prix-nobel/

Simon loved old Japan but not new from what I understand.

And agree with your points. You would think the decision making would have evolved over time from international submissions to international participation given the status of the award. But no. An international panel would have its own complexities, politics etc, but it is preferable and could work. The Academy has had a long period to prove its un-biased, all-encompassing, objective approach, but the numbers don’t stack up and the difficulties of language etc have proved insurmountable.

(I read “pain” up above, hope all is well or well soon.)
Edited by Didi, Aug 13 2015, 07:37 PM.
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Didi
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Frankétienne - been various rumours that he has been part of the shortlist a few times. Archip. Pr. has helped re English audience more recently.
would be an excellent choice, different imo
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jim-luce/franketienne-haitis-first_b_713168.html
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