Literary Prizes discussion

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No Dead Ones, Please: The Nobel

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message 1: by Conrad (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:55AM) (new)

Conrad | 45 comments Mod
So who's it going to be this year? Are the Swedes going to give us another Bjornstjerne Bjornson, another Karlfeldt, another unknown northern European with a brother-in-law's cousin's roommate amongst the judges?

Will it be another Naipul, a true career win for a stodgy old man? A Pamuk, a show of political solidarity?

A poet, a fictioneer, Joyce Carol Oates, or the first philosopher since Bertrand Russell (or is it Camus)?

Will it be whoever it is the bookies favor? Does anyone still care about the Nobels, anyway?


message 2: by C. (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:55AM) (new)

C. | 10 comments I think that the Nobel is sort of treated like the poet laureate: everyone knows that there is one every year, but unless they're terribly controversial most people even notice them even if they pretend to know what everyone else is talking about it comes up at a party.

I'll admit I haven't gone out and read any of the recent Nobel winners on account of their having one the prize - of the last 20 recipients, I've read seven, none of whom I read in the context of being a "Nobel winner".

But we must ask ourselves who lives up to the ideals of Alfred Nobel, who has produced "the most outstanding work of an idealistic tendency." And once we figure out what an "idealistic tendency" is and why we would necessarily require it from great literature, then we can proceed.


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

interesting what you said about the designation of the prize... isn't it good enough if a writer has achieved the spirit of idealistic tendency, even if the criteria haven't been clearly delineated?

i have to admit that i've read a good deal of the winners inadvertently in my schooling. then a few year's ago, i ran across grass' danzig trilogy, and it literally changed my life. ever since then, i've been seeking out the winners hoping for a similar discovery.


message 4: by Héctor (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:55AM) (new)

Héctor Posthumous Nobel? Why not?. I vote for Borges...


message 5: by C. (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:55AM) (new)

C. | 10 comments If we're going to flout Conrad's subject title, I'll have to second Borges and add Nabakov and Calvino. But then Tolstoy never won it, and do we have to go back and give it to Melville, Virgil, and Homer? Conrad might have the right idea . . .

DeLillo, for Underworld? (it's thick, which always gets bonus points)

Vollman, because then maybe he won't feel the need to crank out half a dozen books a year?

Bradburry, to freak out the literary community by giving it to a sci-fi author?

Alan Moore, just because you know you'd love to read the thousands of articles and editorials by out-raged critics and the unending "graphic novels are books too!" pieces that would flood newspapers, magazines, and the internet.


message 6: by C. (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:55AM) (new)

C. | 10 comments All jests aside, Cormac McCarthy. That's my nomination.


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

i'll probably get blasted for this one, but i'm hoping for haruki murakami...


message 8: by Conrad (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:56AM) (new)

Conrad | 45 comments Mod
The Nobel Prize for Literature only goes to living authors, unlike most other prizes like the Booker or Pulitzer, which can go to dead people, as long as their book was published that year.

I agree, though: Borges was robbed.

If I had to pick a living author, I'd like to see John Ashbery selected. It's the same problem with him as with Philip Roth, though. People in other countries don't seem to read him that much, and I doubt he translates all that well.


message 9: by Héctor (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:56AM) (new)

Héctor Then vote for Bob!!


message 10: by Ritz (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:58AM) (new)

Ritz (maravillosodesgarro) | 1 comments Me sumo al voto!!!! Lo hubiese aceptado?


message 11: by Héctor (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:58AM) (new)

Héctor Yes, with irony...


message 12: by Mark (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:01PM) (new)

Mark I agree with Cormac McCarthy for nomination. Will he get it? I really doubt it, because of his early aspirations to be the next Faulkner. He has now found his unique voice, especially with the Border Trilogy, and even some popularity by having a book selected for Oprah's book club (a smarmy honor but it sells books, I'm sure). However, his earlier books might knock him out of contention. That said, some winners have done it with only one book, such as Pasternak, and even though Doctor Zhivago was great I didn't think it came close to qualifying for a Nobel Prize.


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