jeremy's Reviews > Nobel Lectures: From the Literature Laureates, 1986 to 2006

Nobel Lectures by The New Press
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's review
Aug 12, 08

it was amazing
bookshelves: translation, essays
Read in August, 2008

a diverse and outstanding collection of musings on life, liberty, and literature from some of the world's greatest writers. while each lecture is poignant in its own way, the most exceptional ones were by orhan pamuk, harold pinter, gao xingjian, dario fo, toni morrison, nadine gordimer, naguib mahfouz and joseph brodsky.

i'll just say that i believe- not empirically, alas, but only theoretically- that, for someone who has read a lot of dickens, to shoot his like in the name of some idea is more problematic than for someone who has read no dickens. and i am speaking precisely about reading dickens, sterne, stendhal, dostoevsky, flaubert, balzac, melville, proust, musil and so forth; that is, about literature, not literacy or education. a literate, educated person, to be sure, is fully capable, after reading this or that political treatise or tract, of killing his like, and even of experiencing, in so doing, a rapture of conviction. lenin was literate, stalin was literate, so was hitler; as for mao zedong, he even wrote verse. what all these men had in common, though, was that their hit list was longer than their reading list. ~joseph brodsky

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