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post #1 of 37 (permalink) Old October 1st, 2008, 09:09 Thread Starter
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Nobel judge: American literature too ignorant to be successful

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) -- Bad news for American writers hoping for a Nobel Prize next week: the top member of the award jury believes the United States is too insular and ignorant to compete with Europe when it comes to great writing.

Counters the head of the U.S. National Book Foundation: "Put him in touch with me, and I'll send him a reading list."

As the Swedish Academy enters final deliberations for this year's award, permanent secretary Horace Engdahl said it's no coincidence that most winners are European.

"Of course there is powerful literature in all big cultures, but you can't get away from the fact that Europe still is the center of the literary world ... not the United States," he told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview Tuesday.

He said the 16-member award jury has not selected this year's winner, and dropped no hints about who was on the short list. Americans Philip Roth and Joyce Carol Oates usually figure in speculation, but Engdahl wouldn't comment on any names.

Speaking generally about American literature, however, he said U.S. writers are "too sensitive to trends in their own mass culture," dragging down the quality of their work.

"The U.S. is too isolated, too insular. They don't translate enough and don't really participate in the big dialogue of literature," Engdahl said. "That ignorance is restraining."


His comments were met with fierce reactions from literary officials across the Atlantic.

"You would think that the permanent secretary of an academy that pretends to wisdom but has historically overlooked Proust, Joyce, and Nabokov, to name just a few non-Nobelists, would spare us the categorical lectures," said David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker.

"And if he looked harder at the American scene that he dwells on, he would see the vitality in the generation of Roth, Updike, and DeLillo, as well as in many younger writers, some of them sons and daughters of immigrants writing in their adopted English. None of these poor souls, old or young, seem ravaged by the horrors of Coca-Cola."

Harold Augenbraum, executive director of the foundation which administers the National Book Awards, said he wanted to send Engdahl a reading list of U.S. literature.

"Such a comment makes me think that Mr. Engdahl has read little of American literature outside the mainstream and has a very narrow view of what constitutes literature in this age," he said.

"In the first place, one way the United States has embraced the concept of world culture is through immigration. Each generation, beginning in the late 19th century, has recreated the idea of American literature."

He added that this is something the English and French are discovering as immigrant groups begin to take their place in those traditions.

The most recent American to win the award was Toni Morrison in 1993. Other American winners include Saul Bellow, John Steinbeck and Ernest Hemingway.

As permanent secretary, Engdahl is a voting member of and spokesman for the secretive panel that selects the winners of what many consider the most prestigious award in literature.

The academy often picks obscure writers and hardly ever selects best-selling authors. It regularly faces accusations of snobbery, political bias and even poor taste.

Since Japanese writer Kenzaburo Oe won the award in 1994, the selections have had a distinct European flavor. Nine of the subsequent laureates were Europeans, including last year's winner, Doris Lessing of Britain (though Lessing often writes about her life in southern Africa). Of the other four, one was from Turkey and the others from South Africa, China and Trinidad. All had strong ties to Europe.

Engdahl said Europe draws literary exiles because it "respects the independence of literature" and can serve as a safe haven.

"Very many authors who have their roots in other countries work in Europe, because it is only here where you can be left alone and write, without being beaten to death," he said. "It is dangerous to be an author in big parts of Asia and Africa."



-------------------------------------------------------------


U.S. authors care about their reader's opinions, market trends and sales numbers, what a pathetic sellouts, no Nobels for you

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post #2 of 37 (permalink) Old October 1st, 2008, 09:52
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Or maybe this moron is just really sore that he was born in Sweden and not the USA? The anti-Americanism in Europe is extremely high, and that is the only reason why this tool is saying such things.

I mean, they gave the Nobel prize to someone like Dario Fo, who is one of the biggest idiots the world has ever seen.

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post #3 of 37 (permalink) Old October 1st, 2008, 11:01
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Or maybe this moron is just really sore that he was born in Sweden and not the USA? The anti-Americanism in Europe is extremely high, and that is the only reason why this tool is saying such things.
What an extremely well informed comment. Yes, it must be that.

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post #4 of 37 (permalink) Old October 1st, 2008, 11:20 Thread Starter
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to be honest, American writers like Thomas Pynchon or Don DeLillo probably deserve this price more than 90% of actual winners during the last 3 decades.

But of course they won't win it, their style is not traditional enough. Usually Nobel price committee is afraid of authors who are too original and different.

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post #5 of 37 (permalink) Old October 1st, 2008, 14:38
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I think the Nobel does not bring anything to anyone (except money), rather those guys add something to the nobel so, I gather Pynchon does not give a damn to the nobel, but I do not think this accussation stands. The nobel is rather schizophrenic than unwilling to embrace some new experience, but as any prize, they are rather limited by what a selected small group can possible know.

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post #6 of 37 (permalink) Old October 9th, 2008, 18:43
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... and the envelope please

http://enews.earthlink.net/article/t...009-1396343413

STOCKHOLM, Sweden - France's Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio won the 2008 Nobel Prize in literature on Thursday for works characterized by "poetic adventure and sensual ecstasy" and focused on the environment, especially the desert.

Le Clezio, 68, is the first French writer to win the prestigious award since Chinese-born Frenchman Gao Xingjian was honored in 2000 and the 14th since the first Nobel Prizes began in 1901.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy hailed Le Clezio's win as a sign of France's worldwide cultural influence.

"A child in Mauritius and Nigeria, a teenager in Nice, a nomad of the American and African deserts, Jean-Marie Le Clezio is a citizen of the world, the son of all continents and cultures," Sarkozy said. "A great traveler, he embodies the influence of France, its culture and its values in a globalized world." []



So. European. French. White. Male. Upper middle-age.

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post #7 of 37 (permalink) Old October 9th, 2008, 23:09
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He likes indians and traveled to Africa. That is what the dude meant by not insular

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post #8 of 37 (permalink) Old October 9th, 2008, 23:33
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I saw a whole reportage on TG1 on this fella... traveled to India and Africa, is French... clearly left wing... I mean, is it any more obvious that the Nobel prize is a left wing coalition? Hate comments towards USA, and they let this dude win... The Nobel prize is worthless.

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post #9 of 37 (permalink) Old October 10th, 2008, 00:06
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So. European. French. White. Male. Upper middle-age.

What's not to expect?

Here's the list of winners in the last 10 years:

# 2008 - Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio
# 2007 - Doris Lessing
# 2006 - Orhan Pamuk
# 2005 - Harold Pinter
# 2004 - Elfriede Jelinek
# 2003 - J. M. Coetzee
# 2002 - Imre Kertész
# 2001 - V. S. Naipaul
# 2000 - Gao Xingjian
# 1999 - Günter Grass

It is true that there were only 2 women amongst the 10 last winners but only 4 of them were what you can call "European white upper-middle aged men".

The last time this prize was won by a French writer was in 1985.

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post #10 of 37 (permalink) Old October 11th, 2008, 13:11 Thread Starter
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I saw a whole reportage on TG1 on this fella... traveled to India and Africa, is French... clearly left wing... I mean, is it any more obvious that the Nobel prize is a left wing coalition? Hate comments towards USA, and they let this dude win... The Nobel prize is worthless.


pic of Nobel prize afterparty:


Big games are easy than the other games, unfortunately. Every times we have the control the games, under the control the games, during the games we had the some possibilities, some big chances, some big okazyons, something like that but what can I do, sometimes? And….it’s the football, that’s the football, something happened. Everything is something happened. - Fatih Terim
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post #11 of 37 (permalink) Old October 11th, 2008, 13:16
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Yes, it is rather obvious that the only reason why Sartre and Bernard Shaw won the prize was because their communist ties. They would never award the price to a controversial anti-semithic dude like T.S.Eliot. Considering how badly they all write.

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post #12 of 37 (permalink) Old October 11th, 2008, 21:58
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pic of Nobel prize afterparty:


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post #13 of 37 (permalink) Old October 12th, 2008, 04:22
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I very much agree with the recently resurfaced criticism of the Nobel committee, that their choices are usually backwards looking, honoring long and most often impressive careers way too late to boost any literary debate or movement, and certainly long past the time the authors lat did anything interesting. I read two of Le Clezio's books while doing a French literature curriculum in college, and while clearly written by a capable writer, they really did nothing for me (60-70s books).

You can say the same for more than half the winners over the past decade - ie. that they do not point towards anything new, fresh or particularly interesting for writers/readers of today.

In that sense, there was some power in awarding the prize to Jelinek (even if she's unreadable to me) and Pamuk, as there's something special there that contributes to the debate on what literature is and what it can do.

I'm cool with Grass having gotten a belated Nobel, but for services rendered he is really the only no-brainer from the bunch cataloged above, I think. Doris Lessing and Harold Pinter.... I mean, really.

As for the argument that American litterature is too self absorbed.... even if there's a grain of truth in that, I suppose it is difficult to find a cultural trend that has been more influential than Americana has been globally over the past 60 years. And lots of great American writers have dealt with that in tremendous ways.

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The debute said it all: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=guo5p...eature=related
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post #14 of 37 (permalink) Old October 12th, 2008, 05:31
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Of course there is a grain of truth, but really...
It is not like Mark Twain was talking about germany while writing Huck finn or Virgil about the persians... great writers are above their bias and europeans are biased as hell (I mean, a south american complaning about USA insularty,ok. And european? haha. Plus discovering that USA culture is insular only now??? )
What is the truth, great writers need no nobel, the the nobel need them. And really, recently it is hard to find a great writer.

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post #15 of 37 (permalink) Old October 12th, 2008, 14:08
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Point taken, Felipe Reis. And I congratulate all who achieved the Nobel. They worked hard and it is good to receive recognition, plus of course, money.

But if you examine the work of the literature winners from the past decade, you will find one common denominator. Regardless of nationalities or genders -- with the exception of Gao Xingjian, Orhak Pamuk and perhaps Harold Pinter -- the Nobel committee for literature had chosen to award writers hailed from the first world (be they natural born or immigrants) and made their living documenting the third world.

No problem with that. But why not just give the prize directly to a writer born and lives in the so-called third world?

I mean, one Frenchman can wax poetic about Nigeria forever but can we finally hear a Nigerian speak? Reading a Nobel laureate's books can sometimes feel like, hm, using a potato instead of a computer mouse.

Choosing a representative works in line with an old European tradition (also known as neo-classicism), much like white upper class western homes are often decorated with antiques from what they regard as developing countries. That style of living, ironically, also applies to most leftists, centrists and right winged upper class Europeans.

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post #16 of 37 (permalink) Old October 12th, 2008, 14:33
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Also, have you noticed how poets are not good enough anymore. The Nobelists stopped reading poems quite sometime ago...

Now, they are europeans. Since when the general vision of europeans towards Asia, America and Africa is a bit like this: poor underveloped people, they have vallues and we must respect this. They still even are really religious, we must respect this. So we need someone to build a bridge to them, and since we are so good and mercifull, plus we build better bridges, lets do it.
To understand India they needed Kipling not an writer from there. To get africa, Richard Burton and all the exotic Haggard novels or the noble Isak Dinensen. Well, America they lost a bit of control, but they always liked Henry James and T.S.Eliot, those guys who never settled in one side of atlantic. With South America they were very grateful to find Borges and Cortazar because the only thing they knew about us is that we play better football than them. It is not different from the attitude towards football, you saw in the Messi thread. They love outsiders as long they are insiders. All with good heart.
Now, in another hand, the Nobelists are of course conservative and all, hearing the critics while picking the ocasional latin american, asian or african winner that the dude was only picked due to political correctness must increase the need to protect the prize credibility avoiding those guys and yet looking at them.

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post #17 of 37 (permalink) Old October 12th, 2008, 14:53
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Who the hell cares about the Nobel prizes anyway? Especially the litterature one, it's decided by a bunch of elitist snobs. Who are they to decide what is to be considered good litterature (or "har produceradt det utmärktaste i idealisk rigtning")?

I put as much weight into it as I do to the Eurovision Song Contest when it comes to music.

The Nobel prizes lost all credibility when Kissinger was awarded the Nobel peace prize.

Yeah, Kissinger is surely a person who worked the most or the best for the brotherhood of people and the abolishment or diminishing of standing armies and the creation and spreading of peace congresses ("som har verkat mest eller best för folkens förbrödrande och afskaffande eller minskning af stående armeer samt bildande och spridande af fredskongresser")...

P.S. Not political!

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ha! i read about height. nacka, you are mongoloid.
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post #18 of 37 (permalink) Old October 12th, 2008, 15:43
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Stygamta will be very disapointed with you.

Let me explain the importance of the nobel
"Olives are green"
"Yes. I like Olives."
"And the Nobel"
"The nobel is green too"
"hey, look that guy have funny hair."

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post #19 of 37 (permalink) Old October 12th, 2008, 16:28
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Stygamta will be very disapointed with you.

Let me explain the importance of the nobel
"Olives are green"
"Yes. I like Olives."
"And the Nobel"
"The nobel is green too"
"hey, look that guy have funny hair."
Noooooo, but I made a disclaimer...

See?

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Originally Posted by Nacka
P.S. Not political!
I think Styg will approve... :hopeful:

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ha! i read about height. nacka, you are mongoloid.
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post #20 of 37 (permalink) Old October 12th, 2008, 17:16
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I am not talking about this, I am talking for you attack against snob elits. Tireless bad cops are snob elits. Either you love them or you shall suffer because of them.

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