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Old 1st Oct 2008, 15:24   #1
bill
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Default 2008 Nobel Prize for Literature

It would seem to me that the argument that the Nobel Prize for Literature is anything but a political prize can now be put to rest.

This is just disgusting.
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Old 1st Oct 2008, 15:35   #2
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Default Re: 2008 Nobel Prize for Literature

I don't think he's being political - though I suppose it depends what kind of political you mean - so much as just prejudiced and ignorant.

Anyway the list of great writers passed over for the Nobel is longer than the list of great writers awarded it. And the Academy has always had its stupid dislikes, such as Greene - and indeed Lessing, who had been told once by a member that she would never be awarded the Prize.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
In 1974 Graham Greene, Vladimir Nabokov, and Saul Bellow were considered but rejected in favor of a joint award for Swedish authors Eyvind Johnson and Harry Martinson, both Nobel judges themselves.
Looks like Roth's safe for another year.
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Old 1st Oct 2008, 15:38   #3
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Default Re: 2008 Nobel Prize for Literature

It may not be capital "P" Political, given that an American hasn't received the prize once on this guy's watch, which goes back to 1997, but using a broader definition of the word I don't see how you can get around it. Though I admit "ignorant" and "prejudiced" fit in nicely too.

Roth probably had his bags packed, and was heading to the airport wearing his "SWEDEN" baseball cap. Not this year, Phil. Not until Engdahl gets bounced out of this job.
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Old 1st Oct 2008, 15:42   #4
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Default Re: 2008 Nobel Prize for Literature

Engdahl is an elitist snob, not a political activist. In fairness, though, he has commented that he wasn't talking about no American ever being worthy but rather about US literature at large (which is not to say that I agree with him).

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It doesn't matter to American candidates' chances how we view American literature on a whole compared to other literature. The Nobel prize is not a national competition but an award for individual writers. One would do well to remember that when patriotic emotions start stirring.
Also, he's said similar things about African and Asian literature, so... don't take it too personally.
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Old 1st Oct 2008, 15:47   #5
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Default Re: 2008 Nobel Prize for Literature

But African and Asian writers have won under Engdahl's tenure, and no American has. And for him to make those initial statements about American literature, and then claim that it doesn't hurt individual American writers' chances to win sounds extraordinarily disingenuous to me. If an American takes the prize this year, let's just say I'll be extremely surprised.
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Old 1st Oct 2008, 16:02   #6
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Default Re: 2008 Nobel Prize for Literature

Forget it bill - any man who can wear that layered casual look and the side parting so well - I think of him as the Scandinavian Alan Partridge - is all right by me.
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Old 1st Oct 2008, 16:08   #7
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Default Re: 2008 Nobel Prize for Literature

Quote:
Originally Posted by bill View Post
But African and Asian writers have won under Engdahl's tenure, and no American has.
Those would be: Gao Xingjian, lives in France; J.M. Coetzee, former British colony (Cape Town, anyway); and Turkey straddles Europe.
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Old 1st Oct 2008, 16:17   #8
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Default Re: 2008 Nobel Prize for Literature

So writers from continents Engdahl disapproves of have a better chance at the Nobel if they eventually move to Europe? Or close to? I don't know if that makes Engdahl worse, but I know it doesn't make him better.

And John, you got me with that picture. That pose alone is enough to make his argument.
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Old 1st Oct 2008, 16:32   #9
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Default Re: 2008 Nobel Prize for Literature

Just to clarify my earlier statement: AFAIK he hasn't said that he disapproves of entire continents; that would make the man a complete racist, which I know he's not, and I'm sorry if I gave that impression. What he has said is pretty much the same thing as in the quote above: that the overall quality of literature isn't as high in most parts of the world for various reasons. Again, not that I agree with that, but I'd be surprised if the same argument hasn't been used to explain, for instance, why almost all Oscars always go to US films. Maybe the Academy needs a separate class for non-European literature?

To quote the link JS posted:
Quote:
really, apart from the $1.3 million, does it really matter what the Swedish Academy thinks?
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Old 1st Oct 2008, 18:05   #10
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Default Re: 2008 Nobel Prize for Literature

Well, the Oscars are horseshit, so you won't hear a defense of those from me.
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