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Nobel Prize 2015
Topic Started: Aug 6 2015, 05:42 PM (23,206 Views)
Thomas Hounds
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@Didi, Unfortunately I can't read the French, so I still don't have much of an idea of the specifics of that spat.

@sharon, I felt it was a little aggressive of a calling out, especially considering I was going off what I felt and what I've read critics discuss; that Golding primarily achieved his name for The Lord of the Flies, and having won the Booker a few years before helped bring him back to the fore of the Committee's consideration. I may have been wrong, I feel I was at least half-right. So what. I don't think that calls for such an exasperated calling out about it, as I have read Lord of the Flies and was turned off to ever wanting more by problems with that book. I apologize for not being perfectly informed about the issue. I don't know why you bring up your past help looking at my fiction, for which I was incredibly grateful for, as it gave me a pretty clear idea of where I was succeeding and where I was failing in terms of writing and story-construction, which was essential to figuring out what I was doing wrong and what I could do better more generally as a writer. You seem very offended for some off-handed comments I made very light-heartedly and which were embedded, I thought, in a much longer comments. Golding wasn't even my main topic, and I was more preoccupied with the other topics in both length and thought behind them; Golding was almost an aside to the over all train of thought and discussion. Maybe he is worth revisiting, I said I found one novel intriguing from an anthropologists point of view, so I will definitely check that out.

What I replied:

Quote:
 
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.


That's an incredibly mild-mannered comment, and I even welcomed your opinion and conceded politely that I am not well versed in Golding. The response was:

Quote:
 
read the academy blurb even if you can't be arsed to read anything besides the most well known :)


That comes off as both aggressive and with the sarcastic inflections, insulting. My only response to that was I felt a little miffed, considering again, I don't think I was arguing too impolitely, aggressively, or doggedly, especially since I, again, related my lack of knowledge and expressed my openness to your thoughts on Golding's other books. And then you responded with an extremely aggressive comment. I feel like that comment about being pissed off is you writing me off, but I have done almost nothing here, and I am confused as to the touchiness. I have toned down my assertiveness and rancorousness tremendously from the past, and also am not taking my own opinion nearly so seriously as I used to, so I'm honestly perturbed that I have somehow upset you so much, something I never managed to do back when I was powering through massive diatribes on random aesthetic topics and criticizing whole-scale schools of literature from a totally serious and unbending perspective.
Edited by Thomas Hounds, Aug 14 2015, 10:14 AM.
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oneofmurphysbiscuits
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Noy in the leas sarcastic or aggressive, but yes pissed off because you seemed to be indulging in a fit of pique for my not furnishing you with a longer response on demand, when you do know how typing at length tires me, so to the allusion to the help i've given you. Why not use the search engine.
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Thomas Hounds
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oneofmurphysbiscuits
Aug 14 2015, 10:46 AM
Noy in the leas sarcastic or aggressive, but yes pissed off because you seemed to be indulging in a fit of pique for my not furnishing you with a longer response on demand, when you do know how typing at length tires me, so to the allusion to the help i've given you. Why not use the search engine.
I mean that's sort of why I come to the woods. For opinions from people whose judgment is interesting and valuable. I've been too often led down dead ends or dull directions just searching around for random opinions on the internet, of which there are so many. I always feel like I get lots of interesting opinions here. I said I was a little miffed because I felt like I was being insulted for asking your personal opinion on the matter. And that was after looking up Golding's books on wikipedia and finding a previously unknown work I found interesting.
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oneofmurphysbiscuits
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I understand and agree with you as to the Woods, Jake, but opinions, insights and suggestions can be found using the search engine too. People sometimes read through or reboot old threads long after they've fallen in to torpor, :)
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oneofmurphysbiscuits
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I also think Didi's spot on about the diffficulties inherent in alternative etc etc. Who would draw up on the basis of what criteria and unto infinite regress of self selection. It's one of the reasons i'm not the least interested in, but also that I just don't to the prize thing; as reader, self directing student, poet, not interested :)
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Cleanthes
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About a year ago, these were my feelings about who could win the Nobel:
Quote:
 
Great, famous fiction writers? Kundera, Rushdie, a handful of Hungarians, Tournier, Modiano, Siegfried Lenz, Munoz Molina and dozens more listed every year by the betting houses. But I'd like it better if the Nobel prize went to someone a little less famous (like Herta Muller or Jelinek or Szymborska), someone wonderful like Ana Blandiana or Cynthia Ozick or Olga Tokarczuk or Magdalena Tulli or Can Xue.

Sadly, it's too late for Lenz and possibly for Tournier (after Modiano's win). Esterhazy, Bodor and Krasznahorkai are the handful of Hungarians I referred to.
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Didi
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why the Indian drought ?

http://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2014/10/nobel-prize-in-literature/
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Didi
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an outsider from the Philippines: F. Sionil Jose

have not read his works but was discussed more heavily as a potential winner in the past, has the credentials from what I see.
Will sample a book.
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Cleanthes
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That blowhard Bloom on his book Poets and Poems final third includes essays about Pablo Neruda(NPW), Robert Penn Warren, W H Auden(NPW), Theodore Roethke, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Hayden, John Berryman, Octavio Paz(NPW), Gwendolyn Brooks, James Dickey, John Ashbury, W S Merwin, Derek Walcott(NPW), Geoffrey Hill, Mark Strand, Seamus Heaney(NPW) and Anne Carson.

Which brings me to my point: wouldn’t Anne Carson be a wonderful choice for the Nobel Prize?
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param
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Didi
Aug 14 2015, 09:59 PM
an outsider from the Philippines: F. Sionil Jose

have not read his works but was discussed more heavily as a potential winner in the past, has the credentials from what I see.
Will sample a book.
Sionil Jose is 90. I am not saying that is against his chances. I have started reading the first book of hi s 'five-novel series', again. I was thinking in the line of the chance for an English Language writer beyond UK and US. Sionil Jose writes in English. Him and few Australian names comes to mind.

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param
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Didi
Aug 14 2015, 09:49 PM
Availability of credible translations from Indian Languages are a major issue. To me, apart from Mahasweta Devi, there are not many names that come up. U R Ananthamurthy, Indira Goswamy, Sunil Gangopadhyay etc are no more. A few names like M T Vasudevan Nair etc comes up regularly, but I think they are light-weight in this regard.
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Thomas Hounds
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oneofmurphysbiscuits
Aug 14 2015, 11:24 AM
I also think Didi's spot on about the diffficulties inherent in alternative etc etc. Who would draw up on the basis of what criteria and unto infinite regress of self selection. It's one of the reasons i'm not the least interested in, but also that I just don't to the prize thing; as reader, self directing student, poet, not interested :)
This is not about coming up with some super objective and accurate canon or any type of award of that nature. I think prizes like the Nobel inherently don't matter much to either really serious readers nor to writers (save Rushdie maybe). It's not really about that. There are two things that make the Nobel for instance, important. One is that it gives intelligent people with immense human feeling a huge podium and publicity from which deliver a lecture with absolute freedom. The Nobel Lectures might be the greatest resource about it, I've enjoyed tremendously reading through them, even from authors I'm not a huge fan of, like Lessing and Le Clezio who still had very thought-provoking lectures. Kenzaburo Oe and William Faulkner remain my favorite lectures. The second point is that they very much matter outside of us small coteries of dedicated literary explorers and outside the writing community. They matter to media, to public perceptions, to casual readers, and indeed to beginning literary explorers such big awards with such prestige are a very important guideline and road map as they are first starting out (it was for me especially). Regardless of what we see as disqualifying about the Nobel for instance, it's still a very important award internationally, and can even get obscure authors translated and published into English, and thus finally available to English readers.

What makes the prize problematic is the sort of geopolitics of representation behind it, where the most prominent and would-be cosmopolitan award, the award that truly aims to be global, is that it fails in this very area, fails to be very representative, and has if anything retrogressed from where the awards were 20 years ago. I think it's very important to elevate important cultural figures from different cultures, languages, and ethnicities to the global stage, especially to educate and broaden the horizons of the many people that casually follow the award or get caught up in it as news. I think that however modestly, that is important and can be a good thing, and if the Nobel can't do it right, the world would certainly be a little bit better off if another organization did.
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Didi
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South Korean outsiders - Yi Mun-yol (heavily translated, popular in France and have been meaning to read "the Poet"); Oh Jung-hee (do not know much about the author, primarily known as a master of the short form, has been discussed as an alternative winner to Ko Un).
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Didi
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Indonesia beyond Pramoedya Ananta Toer, a WIP

http://idwriters.com/indonesian-literature-and-the-world-stage/

no south east asian has ever won the prize.
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DB Cooper
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Personal favorites, with no regard to others opinions: Marias, Vollmann, Pynchon, Laszlo. I think if any of those authors were to win the choice could certainly be defended. They pulled Modiano out of the ether last year so perhaps the stage is set for a more well known writer. I don't really understand the people that say a well known author, or one that has sold many books isn't a great choice. Sometimes writers are well known or have a following because they are great writers and very talented. Tough concept, I know.
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Didi
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that is an excellent list of 4 and difficult to argue against that is for sure.

sales, I think it should not be heavily factored in, maybe a legitimate secondary factor at best
would be interested in seeing the top author sales - that is globally, irrespective of language.
its maybe why Katie Price had entered in the paddy power odds, maybe its the children's books, unsure where this came from.
Edited by Didi, Aug 15 2015, 05:22 PM.
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oneofmurphysbiscuits
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Jake I understand what you're saying and I very much admire you for saying as much so carefuly, but I think ivdisagree with you, or at least tthink that such sentiment and observation are most useful instance by instance :)
Edited by oneofmurphysbiscuits, Aug 15 2015, 07:25 PM.
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johnnywalkitoff
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As to the above four (pynchon, marias etc...) yeah no complaints but I'd rather it be a very under-translated writer...so much better for us english/ bi-lingual readers...I already read Pynchon and while it's a good career prize why do I give a fuck who wins this goddamn dynamite money? I want to read more of Pitol so that's who I want to win, him or a poet from somewhere in central america (anybody fit that bill?)
Edited by johnnywalkitoff, Aug 16 2015, 01:43 PM.
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Didi
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the Nicaraguan Ernesto Cardenal would be my pick here and has been consistently in the running, (but is well known/translated)
and possibly Salvadorian Manlio Argueta (not especially known for his poetry outside El Salvador)

there are many other excellent poets in the region but their relatively young age would be the obstacle (Costa Rican Luis Chaves a future consideration)
Edited by Didi, Aug 16 2015, 04:16 PM.
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Cleanthes
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Well most of the recent greats are already gone. Chumacero, Pacheco, Roque Dalton, Roberto Sosa. Laureano Alban and Ernesto Cardenal are still alive. A little primer, translations by yours truly except where noted otherwise.

Ali Chumacero:
KID AZTECA

Be yourself now your face slapped
Your last rival dead the will
to triumph for you only rises
the poor grass on the hard stone
The night where you'll be no one is coming
Having been beaten already
thrown against the ropes
and dreamed about on a sandbag many times
Punches and pain is life -and the rest is nothing
Calm down despair
Get lost fear of being knocked out forever
Accept already the crazy hook
that will drop your body to the canvas

Jose Emilio Pacheco:
WORDS FROM BUDDHA

Everything is burning: the visible world
burns and the seeing eye burns with questions.
Burns the fire of hatred.
Burns the desire for money.
Burn the rise and fall.
Burns the pain.
The crying, the suffering
are burning too.
Regret is a flame.
And worries are bonfires
on which burn
all things:
Flame,
burning flames,
burning flames,
world and fire, look
the leaf in the wind, so sad, from the fire.

Roque Dalton:
Looking for Trouble
The night of my first political cell meeting it rained
my way of dripping was celebrated by four
or five characters straight out of a Goya painting
everyone in the room looked slightly bored
maybe of the persecution and even of the torture they
daily dreamed about.
Founders of confederations and strikers had
a certain huskiness and said that I had
to choose a pseudonym
that I had to pay five bucks a month
that we agreed to meet every Wednesday
and how my studies were going
and that today we were going to read a Lenin pamphlet
and that we didn't need to say comrade all the time.
It had stopped raining when we finished
mum told me off for getting home late.


(tr. Luis Gonzales Serrano here)

Roberto Sosa:
Description of a City in Danger

The cobras
have misplaced the only hisses they possessed.

Sirens
signal
the new day by hissing. For unexplained reasons
vehicles
transport
to key points
immense sacks stuffed with hisses.

The press
The Radio
The TV and the Highest Courts of the Nation
hiss strangely on closed circuit

The artists, victims of their luxury, hiss poetry to themselves
[...]
Behind thick dark glasses
policemen with foreign access
cast dark shadows and off-key hisses
with victims' bones. Sheets hiss on wires
and freedom hisses in machine guns, while
syphilis, reclining on her bed of roses with a dignified air,
hisses her ancient, monotonous, saccharine song.

(tr. Jo Anne Engelbert, from Roberto Sosa's Selected Poems)

Laureano Alban
From Invisible American Geography

Praised be the tale and description of the heaven and earth's creation, how they were formed and apportioned in four parts, how the heaven was measured and the measuring rope was brought and extended all over heaven and earth on the four angles and the four corners.
Popol Vuh


And then they came and brought with them
the ignited measuring rope of flowers,
and the violent rope of misfortunes,
the impossible measure of mirages:
Time's sands were counted and
under each grain, like a diminishing abyss,
silence's memory was laid open.

The world was divided among four omens.
The first omen was death: the black Imix tree,
Eternally supporting transience on its branches
The second omen was heaven: the white Imix tree,
Destruction's mirror and desolation's rain
And the yellow Imix tree, with its fire roots,
planted towards the Peten's south, nurturing lightning bolts.
And the green Imix tree, located at the center of the earth,
keeping nothingness away, only barely alive.

And this is how the four angles
of the invisible were planted,
and their magical numbers
creators of labyrinths
music and perfection.

And that was the gods' measure:
their measuring rope.
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