Search/Destroy Every Nobel Prize Winner For Literature

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1901 Sully Prudhomme
1902 Theodor Mommsen
1903 Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson
1904 Frédéric Mistral
José Echegaray y Eizaguirre
1905 Henryk Sienkiewicz
1906 Giosuè Carducci
1907 Rudyard Kipling
1908 Rudolf Christoph Eucken
1909 Selma Lagerlöf
1910 Paul Heyse
1911 Count Maurice Maeterlinck
1912 Gerhart Hauptmann
1913 Rabindranath Tagore
1915 Romain Rolland
1916 Verner von Heidenstam
1917 Karl Adolph Gjellerup
Henrik Pontoppidan
1919 Carl Spitteler
1920 Knut Hamsun
1921 Anatole France
1922 Jacinto Benavente
1923 William Butler Yeats
1924 Władysław Reymont
1925 George Bernard Shaw
1926 Grazia Deledda
1927 Henri Bergson
1928 Sigrid Undset
1929 Thomas Mann
1930 Sinclair Lewis
1931 Erik Axel Karlfeldt
1932 John Galsworthy
1933 Ivan Alekseyevich Bunin
1934 Luigi Pirandello
1936 Eugene O'Neill
1937 Roger Martin du Gard
1938 Pearl S. Buck
1939 Frans Eemil Sillanpää
1944 Johannes Vilhelm Jensen
1945 Gabriela Mistral
1946 Hermann Hesse
1947 André Gide
1948 T. S. Eliot
1949 William Faulkner
1950 Bertrand Russell
1951 Pär Lagerkvist
1952 François Mauriac
1953 Sir Winston Churchill
1954 Ernest Hemingway
1955 Halldór Laxness
1956 Juan Ramón Jiménez
1957 Albert Camus
1958 Boris Pasternak (declined the prize)
1959 Salvatore Quasimodo
1960 Saint-John Perse
1961 Ivo Andric
1962 John Steinbeck
1963 Giorgos Seferis
1964 Jean-Paul Sartre (declined the prize)
1965 Michail Sholokhov
1966 Shmuel Yosef Agnon
Nelly Sachs
1967 Miguel Ángel Asturias
1968 Yasunari Kawabata
1969 Samuel Beckett
1970 Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
1971 Pablo Neruda
1972 Heinrich Böll
1973 Patrick White
1974 Eyvind Johnson
Harry Martinson
1975 Eugenio Montale
1976 Saul Bellow
1977 Vicente Aleixandre
1978 Isaac Bashevis Singer
1979 Odysseas Elytis
1980 Czesław Miłosz
1981 Elias Canetti
1982 Gabriel García Márquez
1983 William Golding
1984 Jaroslav Seifert
1985 Claude Simon
1986 Akinwande Oluwole Soyinka
1987 Joseph Brodsky
1988 Naguib Mahfouz
1989 Camilo José Cela
1990 Octavio Paz
1991 Nadine Gordimer
1992 Derek Walcott
1993 Toni Morrison
1994 Kenzaburo Oe
1995 Seamus Heaney
1996 Wisława Szymborska
1997 Dario Fo
1998 José Saramago
1999 Günter Grass
2000 Gao Xingjian
2001 Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul
2002 Imre Kertész
2003 John Maxwell Coetzee
2004 Elfriede Jelinek
2005 Harold Pinter
2006 Orhan Pamuk
2007 Doris Lessing
2008 J. M. G. Le Clézio
2009 Herta Müller
2010 Mario Vargas Llosa
2011 Tomas Tranströmer
2012 Mo Yan
2013 Alice Munro
2014 Patrick Modiano
2015 Svetlana Alexievich
2016 Bob Dylan

scott seward, Friday, 14 October 2016 17:41 (seven years ago) link

Blood on the Tracks is great...

scott seward, Friday, 14 October 2016 17:41 (seven years ago) link

Search: Henrik Pontoppidan's hairdo...

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ea/Henrik_Pontoppidan_1913.jpg

scott seward, Friday, 14 October 2016 17:49 (seven years ago) link

poll!

F♯ A♯ (∞), Friday, 14 October 2016 17:50 (seven years ago) link

Destroy: Theodor Mommsen's hairdo...

http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1902/mommsen_postcard.jpg

scott seward, Friday, 14 October 2016 17:53 (seven years ago) link

Maeterlinck got a Nobel prize?

Also just seeing this name:

1965 Michail Sholokhov

Makes me smell unwanted shelves of mildewy goodwill hardcovers

And Sholokhov apparently never even wrote "And Quiet Flows the Don"!

xyzzzz__, Friday, 14 October 2016 20:24 (seven years ago) link

wonder if the number of nazis in this list is statistically significant

legitimate concerns about ducks (Noodle Vague), Friday, 14 October 2016 20:27 (seven years ago) link

i still have never read Beloved...i should read it.

scott seward, Friday, 14 October 2016 20:30 (seven years ago) link

Excellent, good quality literature:

1907 Rudyard Kipling
1920 Knut Hamsun
1968 Yasunari Kawabata
1969 Samuel Beckett
1968 Yasunari Kawabata
1969 Samuel Beckett
1971 Pablo Neruda
1975 Eugenio Montale
1981 Elias Canetti
1982 Gabriel García Márquez
1987 Joseph Brodsky
1991 Nadine Gordimer
1994 Kenzaburo Oe
1995 Seamus Heaney
1996 Wisława Szymborska
1998 José Saramago
2004 Elfriede Jelinek
2007 Doris Lessing
2015 Svetlana Alexievich

Crap/indifferent/yet to see the fuss:

1913 Rabindranath Tagore
1929 Thomas Mann
1934 Luigi Pirandello
1946 Hermann Hesse
1947 André Gide
1948 T. S. Eliot
1949 William Faulkner
1952 François Mauriac
1955 Halldór Laxness
1958 Boris Pasternak (declined the prize)
1959 Salvatore Quasimodo
1957 Albert Camus
1963 Giorgos Seferis
1964 Jean-Paul Sartre (declined the prize)
1970 Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
1972 Heinrich Böll
1973 Patrick White
1976 Saul Bellow
1979 Odysseas Elytis
1980 Czesław Miłosz
1985 Claude Simon
2008 J. M. G. Le Clézio
2009 Herta Müller
2011 Tomas Tranströmer

Read some, not enough to have a one word opinion on - actually going to check now:

1966 Nelly Sachs

Actually Evil:

1953 Sir Winston Churchill
2016 Bob Dylan

Not enough data in the bank to process to an onion.

xyzzzz__, Friday, 14 October 2016 20:39 (seven years ago) link

to process the rest of this list to an onion.

xyzzzz__, Friday, 14 October 2016 20:41 (seven years ago) link

and quiet flows the don is totally great.
some other sholokhov book i attempted to read was utter shit in the worst soviet social realist style

*-* (jim in vancouver), Friday, 14 October 2016 20:44 (seven years ago) link

"Not enough data in the bank to process to an onion."

gertrude stein fan...

scott seward, Friday, 14 October 2016 20:47 (seven years ago) link

Gabriela Mistral: first latin american winner.

is on the 5000 peso/5 lucas note in chile:

http://tomchao.com/sa/chile5fx.jpg

must be one of the only nobel laureates to be a school teacher of another

*-* (jim in vancouver), Friday, 14 October 2016 20:47 (seven years ago) link

p sure Halldór Laxness is in tartarus reading his own work forever

Roberto Spiralli, Friday, 14 October 2016 20:47 (seven years ago) link

i have never found the lessing...that i want to read. i've picked up quite a few.

scott seward, Friday, 14 October 2016 20:48 (seven years ago) link

i was such a bellow fanboy when i was young. need to re-read some to see if i still feel the same way.

scott seward, Friday, 14 October 2016 20:48 (seven years ago) link

this comes down to Mahfouz vs. IB Singer for me

Οὖτις, Friday, 14 October 2016 20:50 (seven years ago) link

i read the first two Canopus in Argos book but couldn't go on. i liked everything about them except actually reading them. i don't think they're exactly what doris got the prize for tho.

Roberto Spiralli, Friday, 14 October 2016 20:52 (seven years ago) link

ooh or Saramago

lots I don't know on here, none I actively dislike.

xp

Οὖτις, Friday, 14 October 2016 20:52 (seven years ago) link

im a bit ambivalent on lessing. golden notebook is pretty great. some of the other books - a proto "we need to talk about kevin" i had to read in school being the worst i can think of - not so good.

*-* (jim in vancouver), Friday, 14 October 2016 20:53 (seven years ago) link

also lessing basically the opposite of a fun read. good to read on a rainy sunday when you're feeling glum.

*-* (jim in vancouver), Friday, 14 October 2016 20:56 (seven years ago) link

a scottish person has never won the nobel prize for literature :'-(

*-* (jim in vancouver), Friday, 14 October 2016 21:17 (seven years ago) link

Bob Dylan?

legitimate concerns about ducks (Noodle Vague), Friday, 14 October 2016 21:18 (seven years ago) link

is not a true scotsman

Οὖτις, Friday, 14 October 2016 21:19 (seven years ago) link

apparently he's eligible for everything

legitimate concerns about ducks (Noodle Vague), Friday, 14 October 2016 21:22 (seven years ago) link

Is Pearl S. Buck still considered a major literary figure?

Foster Twelvetrees (Ward Fowler), Friday, 14 October 2016 21:23 (seven years ago) link

no, not really

a little too mature to be cute (Aimless), Friday, 14 October 2016 21:27 (seven years ago) link

i like kipling just fine but rating him over mann, camus, gide, solzhenitsyn, faulkner is a little hard to figure

i have an old abridgment of mommsen's history of rome but have never really cracked it

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Friday, 14 October 2016 21:47 (seven years ago) link

kipling isnt in the top 20 on this list for me tbh

*-* (jim in vancouver), Friday, 14 October 2016 21:56 (seven years ago) link

I probably should take Kipling out of there but I've been re-considering him at the mo. He isn't in the top 20 of mine (if I were to rank them which I won't as I'm not 21 anymore)

Mann - very boring technocratic prose in laying out of the issues in Magic Mountain. Musil was 10x better than this. I want to read his last novel tho'. Death in Venice is great and I do look for the edition of his diaries.

Solzhenitsyn - same but for Soviets. Shamolov and Platonov wrote better prose (partially because they believed in the USSR and were in conflict with it at the same time)

Camus - The Outsider was a bit lucky but I'm told he was v good looking.

Gide - got zilch from his stuff. Rejected the manuscript for Swann's Way, one of the worst literary judgements EVER.

Faulkner - the one guy I want to re-consider.

xyzzzz__, Friday, 14 October 2016 22:08 (seven years ago) link

the fall > the plague > the outsider

*-* (jim in vancouver), Friday, 14 October 2016 22:09 (seven years ago) link

Read all of those. Didn't hate it or anything..

xyzzzz__, Friday, 14 October 2016 22:16 (seven years ago) link

kipling was a friggin' genius. there isn't anyone alive who can do everything he could do. i need more kipling.

who is someone who could write fiction and poetry as well as he could? i can't think of anyone.

scott seward, Saturday, 15 October 2016 00:10 (seven years ago) link

i wanna stay in his house. not cheap but it's right up the road!

http://landmarktrustusa.org/properties/rudyard-kiplings-naulakha/

scott seward, Saturday, 15 October 2016 00:11 (seven years ago) link

God it's actually incredible how much better the Irish are than all the others

the kids are alt right (darraghmac), Saturday, 15 October 2016 00:15 (seven years ago) link

My keep list would be something like this: the only Harry Martinson I've read is an epic sci-fi poem set on a spaceship, and it was great

1907 Rudyard Kipling
1913 Rabindranath Tagore
1920 Knut Hamsun
1923 William Butler Yeats
1928 Sigrid Undset
1929 Thomas Mann
1930 Sinclair Lewis
1933 Ivan Alekseyevich Bunin
1934 Luigi Pirandello
1936 Eugene O'Neill
1947 André Gide
1948 T. S. Eliot
1951 Pär Lagerkvist
1952 François Mauriac
1955 Halldór Laxness
1957 Albert Camus
1961 Ivo Andric
1962 John Steinbeck
1964 Jean-Paul Sartre (declined the prize)
1968 Yasunari Kawabata
1969 Samuel Beckett
1971 Pablo Neruda
1972 Heinrich Böll
1973 Patrick White
1974 Harry Martinson
1978 Isaac Bashevis Singer
1980 Czesław Miłosz
1981 Elias Canetti
1983 William Golding
1986 Akinwande Oluwole Soyinka
1987 Joseph Brodsky
1988 Naguib Mahfouz
1995 Seamus Heaney
1996 Wisława Szymborska
1998 José Saramago
2002 Imre Kertész
2003 John Maxwell Coetzee
2004 Elfriede Jelinek
2005 Harold Pinter
2011 Tomas Tranströmer
2013 Alice Munro
2014 Patrick Modiano
2015 Svetlana Alexievich

I hear from this arsehole again, he's going in the river (James Morrison), Saturday, 15 October 2016 01:23 (seven years ago) link

Pre-Dylan, Muller and le Clezio seem like the last big mis-steps. Muller can be a good writer, but so utterly humourless, and le Clezio just seems like an overrated sadist.

I hear from this arsehole again, he's going in the river (James Morrison), Saturday, 15 October 2016 01:28 (seven years ago) link

i need to read more william golding. his post-piggy books always sound really interesting to me, but i always forget to look for them in used shops which is the only place i'd ever find them. plus, he had the best first edition covers ever.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/7f/FreeFall.jpg

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/9c/WillianGolding_TheInheritors.jpg

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/2/2f/TheSpire.JPG

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/6/6d/PincherMartin.jpg

scott seward, Saturday, 15 October 2016 03:29 (seven years ago) link

Actually Evil:

1953 Sir Winston Churchill
2016 Bob Dylan

I LOLed

(SNIFFING AND INDISTINCT SOBBING) (Tom D.), Saturday, 15 October 2016 10:08 (seven years ago) link

Pre-Dylan, Muller and le Clezio seem like the last big mis-steps. Muller can be a good writer, but so utterly humourless, and le Clezio just seems like an overrated sadist.

― I hear from this arsehole again, he's going in the river (James Morrison), 15. oktober 2016 03:28 (eight hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

I heard a lot of snickering at Modiano as well, or am I remembering it wrong?

Frederik B, Saturday, 15 October 2016 10:30 (seven years ago) link

I totally forgot until this second that Coetzee won the Nobel Prize, weird

Guayaquil (eephus!), Saturday, 15 October 2016 12:37 (seven years ago) link

Anyway, Laxness's "Independent People" is one of the most magnificent things I've ever read, thank you Nobel committee for bringing it to my attention.

Guayaquil (eephus!), Saturday, 15 October 2016 12:38 (seven years ago) link

Mann - very boring technocratic prose in laying out of the issues in Magic Mountain. Musil was 10x better than this. I want to read his last novel tho'. Death in Venice is great and I do look for the edition of his diarie

You might respond differently to the translator and Joseph and His Brothers, which I finished three weeks ago and wanted another 1500 pages of. The mountains of historical detail reinvented by a self-consciously 20th century narrator provoked the right kind of dialectical thinking.

otoh Thomas Mann exists so that he can win Nobel Prizes.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 15 October 2016 12:41 (seven years ago) link

Kipling's short stories are rather good: terse little things with a good ear for dialect that I'll pick over Hemingway's these days.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 15 October 2016 12:42 (seven years ago) link

who is someone who could write fiction and poetry as well as he could? i can't think of anyone.

― scott seward, Friday, October 14, 2016

Hardy and Lawrence.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 15 October 2016 12:42 (seven years ago) link

1970 Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
1972 Heinrich Böll
1973 Patrick White

boy have I given these three a number of chances. Am I reading the right White? What's a good start?

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 15 October 2016 12:46 (seven years ago) link

I feel like Kipling and Yeats are the most imperishable here, but I haven't read most of the list. Kawabata is one I want to check out.

jmm, Saturday, 15 October 2016 12:49 (seven years ago) link

otoh Thomas Mann exists so that he can win Nobel Prizes.

― The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 15 October 2016 Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

He was born for it! Even now absolutely encapsulates what the Nobel for lit is about and...its not pretty.

I don't know, historical novels ain't my bag. My line on translation is that someone who speaks to me will do so even if I come across a translation that is regarded as bad. So if I'm not liking something its either because its something I am not disposed towards or its bad, or I am but I don't like the writing, or these are things I am not ready for just now (on that one Dostoevsky passed me by at 17 but now I'm good with him)

xyzzzz__, Saturday, 15 October 2016 12:54 (seven years ago) link

So I love Tokarczuk, Saramago, used to love Ishiguro but his last two were rubbish, read one Gurnah which was pretty good, Marquez is fine, Munro is fine but I prefer novels, don't really care for Lessing, not bothered about Coetzee, don't want to read Naipaul... who should I try next?

ledge, Tuesday, 4 October 2022 08:22 (one year ago) link

sir winston churchill 👶🏻

mark s, Tuesday, 4 October 2022 08:54 (one year ago) link

1922 Jacinto Benavente

xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 4 October 2022 08:57 (one year ago) link

Actual answer. I am not going to read it, but I hear good things about it.

https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/451279/kristin-lavransdatter-by-undset-sigrid/9780143039167

xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 4 October 2022 09:03 (one year ago) link

ideal choice - female author, "attempted human sacrifice, floods, fights, murders, violent suicide, a gay king, drunken revelry, the Bubonic Plague", and it will beef up my pre 1980 album which only has half a dozen stickers in (pasternak, camus, steinbeck, faulkner, hesse, hamsun).

ledge, Tuesday, 4 October 2022 09:28 (one year ago) link

In the early days there's a lot of Scandinavian names so you get the accusations that it was parochial.

But here you have one of them that's been plucked from obscurity, re-packaged as post-Ferrante.

xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 4 October 2022 09:41 (one year ago) link

yep, congrats to the penguin marketing department on that one.

ledge, Tuesday, 4 October 2022 09:42 (one year ago) link

I believe there was a somewhat recent film adaptation of it as well, directed by Liv Ullmann.

Misirlou Sunset (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 4 October 2022 09:43 (one year ago) link

1995. Time flies.

Misirlou Sunset (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 4 October 2022 09:45 (one year ago) link

Tagore's short stories are good.

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 4 October 2022 10:12 (one year ago) link

Tagore kind of lives on through the Satyajit Ray connection.

Misirlou Sunset (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 4 October 2022 10:45 (one year ago) link

also not wanting to give the Nobel ppl undue credit but 1913 is pretty early to consider going beyond the eurocentric, no?

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 4 October 2022 10:47 (one year ago) link

Anyone read any Claude Simon? One of those nouveau roman writers I've never tried

Zelda Zonk, Tuesday, 4 October 2022 10:49 (one year ago) link

Ha, no, but I remember he was on my list once as well to investigate.

Misirlou Sunset (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 4 October 2022 10:53 (one year ago) link

Yes, Simon is great. Check out Flanders Road, it's been reissued.

xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 4 October 2022 11:09 (one year ago) link

Will do!

Zelda Zonk, Tuesday, 4 October 2022 11:21 (one year ago) link

simon is great, yes - i found 'the flanders road' brilliant in places but a little inscrutable at times - multiple narrators, asynchronous narrative, i found it difficult to find a through line. his middle period experimental works 'conducting bodies' and 'triptych' were significant reads for me. 'conducting bodies' is republished by ubuweb here under a new title: https://ubu-mirror.ch/ubu/simon_properties.html

dogs, Tuesday, 4 October 2022 12:10 (one year ago) link

Most likely the next Nobel Prize winner is not on my list (although Glück, Tokarczuk & Handke were on it), but I created this mosaic as a thank you for your comments & support (and as an apology for flooding your timelines for 33 days). It includes every name I mentioned. Cheers. pic.twitter.com/UhQ0jiBn89

— Luis Panini (@TheLuisPanini) October 4, 2022

Fizzles, Tuesday, 4 October 2022 19:04 (one year ago) link

BREAKING NEWS:
The 2022 #NobelPrize in Literature is awarded to the French author Annie Ernaux “for the courage and clinical acuity with which she uncovers the roots, estrangements and collective restraints of personal memory.” pic.twitter.com/D9yAvki1LL

— The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) October 6, 2022

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 6 October 2022 13:04 (one year ago) link

Haven't read her but she sounds better than the last two French winners.

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 6 October 2022 13:11 (one year ago) link

Pierre Joris:

Oh, well. Another weirdo Nobel Prize in Lit: Annie Ernaux, a good, competent, though pedestrian & safe, French writer of autobiographical fiction. So yes, the prize went to a woman, which is good. But this is a totally safe, intra-european gimmick. Actually this is ridiculous in an era when a really great novelist, Salman Rushdie, suffered from an assassination attempt, when Adonis, the greatest poet & writer in the Arabic language, would have been only the 2nd Nobel (after the novelist Naguib Mahfouz in 1988) in that language, when there are.... oh, forget it, the list of major writers who could/should get it is large & very international.

is this guy fucking kidding? Ernaux is utterly incredible and I say this as a reader who generally shuns memoirs.

J Edgar Noothgrush (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Thursday, 6 October 2022 15:35 (one year ago) link

The Nobel have not given the award for a writer of autofiction before, and looking at the list they are quite good at representing most facets of modern fiction.

Also the Nobel regards literature as mostly European, male affair. So giving it to more women is good, not bad. Even if Ernaux is European.

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 6 October 2022 15:41 (one year ago) link

Shame how Adonis isn't even mentioned now (he was looked at during the height of the Syrian civil war). Assumed he was dead, but no he is 92.

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 6 October 2022 15:48 (one year ago) link

I'm at the library and several of her books are here translated. Gonna check out Happening.

Malevolent Arugula (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 6 October 2022 15:55 (one year ago) link

I have a book of hers I bought but haven’t read her yet - recommended to me by xyzzzz__ funnily enough. Rushdie was a great author before he got stabbed, Nobel committee funnily didn’t take that into consideration.

barry sito (gyac), Thursday, 6 October 2022 15:59 (one year ago) link

I do always like the "I was going about my business" moments of people winning a Nobel:

Annie Ernaux with journalists in front of her home earlier. She learned the news through the radio. She said: "I'm very happy, I'm proud, but not shaken" and "I will definitely go to Stockholm." @nytimes #NobelPrize2022 pic.twitter.com/encBCdR2f0

— Laura Cappelle (@LauraCappelle) October 6, 2022

See also:

Doris Lessing wins the 2007 Nobel Prize for Literature, & this is what she finds on her doorstep.
Photo: Shaun Curry pic.twitter.com/isQDz1RlGc

— Deny Fear (@dean_frey) October 22, 2018

The self-titled drags (Eazy), Thursday, 6 October 2022 16:15 (one year ago) link

Also Joris’s reasoning is a joke if he’s going to bring context outside of writing into it cos

Congratulations to my publisher, @7storiespress for publishing in English the brilliant #NobelPrize2022 winner, Annie Ernaux.
Happening, about her botched illegal abortion, is more urgent than ever.
Buy and share. https://t.co/xyHi097Ci3

— Nina Burleigh (@ninaburleigh) October 6, 2022



How could that be relevant in today’s world, hmmmmmmm

barry sito (gyac), Thursday, 6 October 2022 16:21 (one year ago) link

wikipedia on its own entry on pierre joris: "This article is an autobiography or has been extensively edited by the subject or by someone connected to the subject"

perhaps he felt *he* deserved the award for autofiction

mark s, Thursday, 6 October 2022 16:26 (one year ago) link

Next years' Nobel prize winner: The Wikipedia Community

four months pass...

I've finished Kristin Lavransdatter. It took a month! Normally even for such a large book I'd be quicker than that. I never wanted to stop reading though. Each of the three individual books was very good, cumulatively they approached magnificence. Wonderful descriptions of nature; deep, complex, believable characters treated with compassion and generosity; a totally convincing 14th century setting. Eveything in the description many posts above - "attempted human sacrifice, floods, fights, murders, violent suicide, a gay king, drunken revelry, the Bubonic Plague" - happens, but that gives a misleading impression, overall it's much more down to earth. What it does is quietly and confidently capture the simple momentousness of life itself.

There are a few lovely moments which, very occasionally, almost lift it into something more magical or fantastic - the young Kristin thinks she sees a mountain elf; some dreams are written about; someone thinks he sees Kristin leaning over a fence but it's just a tree. Then there's this section which nearly did me in - Simon is riding home in winter, at night, with an arm badly infected from a wound and in a feverish state:

Simon gazed at everything: The full moon was sailing brightly in the pale blue sky, having driven all the stars far away; only a few larger ones still dared wander in the distant heavens. The white fields glittered and sparkled; the shadows fell short and jagged across the snow; inside the woods the uncertain light lay in splotches and stripes among the firs, heavy with snow. Simon saw all this.

But at the same time he saw quite clearly a meadow with tufts of ash-brown grass in the sunlight of early spring. Several small spruce trees had sprung up here and there at the edge of the field; they glowed green like velvet in the sun. He recognized this place; it was the pasture near his home at Dyfrin. The alder woods stood beyond the field with its tree trunks a springtime shiny gray and the tops brown with blossoms. Behind stretched the long, low Raumarike ridges, shimmering blue but still speckled white with snow. They were walking down toward the alder thicket, he and Simon Reidarsson, carrying fishing gear and pike spears. They were on their way to the lake, which lay dark gray with patches of thawing ice, to fish at the open end. His dead cousin walked at his side; he saw his playmate's curly hair sticking out from his cap, reddish in the spring sunlight; he could see every freckle on the boy's face. The other Simon stuck out his lower lip and blew - phew, phew - whenever he thought his namesake was speaking gibberish. They jumped over meandering rivulets and leaped from mound to mound across the trickling snow water in the grassy with meadow. The bottom was covered with moss; under the water it churned and frothed a lively green.

He was fully aware of everything around him; the whole time he saw the road passing up one hill and down another, through the woods and over white fields in the glittering moonlight. He saw the slumbering clusters of houses beneath snow-laden roofs casting shadows across the fields; he saw the band of fog hovering over the river in the bottom of the valley. He knew that it was Jon who was riding right behind him and who moved up alongside him whenever they entered open clearings, and yet he happened to call the man Simon several times. He knew it was wrong, but he couldn't help himself, even though he noticed his servants grew alarmed.

In other places it's sometimes quite oblique, particularly when speaking of offences against god or morality - adultery and the like. This is when we discover about the gay king:

"Yes, it was clever of you to separate the boy from his mother," said Erlend gloomily. "He's still only a child—and now all of us Norwegian men have reason to hold our heads up high when we think about the king whom we have sworn to protect."

“Be quiet!” said Erling Vidkunssøn in a low, dejected voice. “That's . . . surely that's not true."

But the other two could see from his face that he knew it was true. Although King Magnus Eirikssøn might still be a child, he had already been infected by a sin which was unseemly to mention among Christian men. A Swedish cleric, who had been assigned to guide his book learning while he was in Sweden, had led him astray in an unmentionable manner.

The sin is unmentionable, but reasonably clear to infer from the third paragraph. But how Erling figures out that's what Erlend is implying in the first paragraph is a mystery to me.

ledge, Friday, 3 March 2023 11:18 (eleven months ago) link

Nice weekend write-up.

I have The Hive on order. This is a good review of it

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/03/books/review/camilo-jose-cela-the-hive.html?smtyp=cur&smid=tw-nytbooks

xyzzzz__, Friday, 3 March 2023 20:57 (eleven months ago) link

oh yeah thanks for the kristin recommendation btw!

ledge, Friday, 3 March 2023 21:18 (eleven months ago) link

Glad you enjoyed it (I haven't read it myself)

xyzzzz__, Friday, 3 March 2023 21:44 (eleven months ago) link

Kristin Lavransdatter is one of the most impressively convincing historical novels I’ve ever read, just a marvellous book to lose yourself in. The Tiina Nunnally translation is great.

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Saturday, 4 March 2023 06:30 (eleven months ago) link

two months pass...

1967 Miguel Ángel Asturias

https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2023/05/25/the-inventor-of-magical-realism-mr-president-asturias/

xyzzzz__, Monday, 8 May 2023 22:40 (nine months ago) link

Among those not mentioned upthread, "The Fall of the King" by Johannes Vilhelm Jensen is really good.

justfanoe (Greg Fanoe), Tuesday, 9 May 2023 15:56 (nine months ago) link

the one asturias i've read is the president which i liked well enough, didn't realise per what i could read of the article that he started on it in the early twenties which was when he was hanging out with the paris surrealists but makes sense

1960 Saint-John Perse

have a big fat volume of his correspondence, but have never succeeded in tracking down any of his poetry (he gets a footnote in the waste land i seem to recall)

no lime tangier, Wednesday, 10 May 2023 07:14 (nine months ago) link

T.S. Eliot also translated his work Anabase.

INDEPENDENTS DAY BY STEVEN SPILBERG (President Keyes), Wednesday, 10 May 2023 10:13 (nine months ago) link

Not to be weird, but I’d never read Anabase when a blurber for my last book compared my writing to it in a favorable manner. I liked it upon my own reading, tho like said blurber noted, Anabase the similarities end at some shared formal strategies.

It’s a pretty easy book to find used, worth it if at all interested.

Goose Bigelow, Fowl Gigolo (the table is the table), Wednesday, 10 May 2023 17:29 (nine months ago) link

I read Ivo Andric's Nobel-winner this year, The Bridge on the Drain, it's great.

J Edgar Noothgrush (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Wednesday, 10 May 2023 17:36 (nine months ago) link

boy have I given these three a number of chances. Am I reading the right White? What's a good start?

btw Alfred I tried Patrick White too and had the same results. Will probably try again at some point.

J Edgar Noothgrush (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Wednesday, 10 May 2023 17:37 (nine months ago) link

That's a relief.

I got The Bridge Over the Drina out of the library now.

the dreaded dependent claus (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 10 May 2023 17:43 (nine months ago) link

four weeks pass...

Finished Jenny by Sigrid Undset. It's very good, doesn't deserve its reputation - seemingly forgotten in English, though there was a new translation in 1998. It doesn't start too auspiciously - lots of description of clothes as well as landscapes, the characters use first names and surnames more or less at random so it's hard to tell who's who. But it soon develops into a rich psychological work. It feels very transitional - for an early 20th century novel, there are young women living independent lives, they stay out all night drinking, they sleep around (or their male friends do - it's still quite coy about this). Of course people have been doing this since the dawn of time, but in 19th/early 20th century novels, not so much. But they speak like characters in a 19th century novel, very romantically, with that almost artificial sounding articulateness. Jenny in particular is trapped by her idea of a romantic life - this is the driving force of the novel, really. It's ambiguous in many ways - modern and old fashioned, moving and melodramatic, clear at times and at other times quite opaque, the characters sometimes eliciting sympathy, sometimes being quite bewildering. But it's beautifully written and ultimately very moving, even heartbreaking.

ledge, Friday, 9 June 2023 13:28 (eight months ago) link

I recently read Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz's Palace Walk from 1956, the first novel in his Cairo trilogy, about a family in Cairo during the British occupation in WWI in 1917, with the patriarch of the family imposing restrictions on his family during the war, and his children finding different ways of rebelling

Dan S, Friday, 9 June 2023 23:19 (eight months ago) link

two weeks pass...

Annie Ernaux doc making the rounds in London - The Super 8 Years. Basically her husband bought a camera in the early 70's and this is all footage of their lives from then to their break up in the early 80'. Ernaux narrates over it and if you dig her writing you'll dig this. They went on holiday a lot, often choosing their destinations with gauchiste awareness - so very cool footage from Chile, Albania, Soviet Union. Also a bit of London and even a little Portugal, but clearly by the time they went there they were in such a marital crisis that no one felt much like filming, alas.

Daniel_Rf, Monday, 26 June 2023 09:41 (seven months ago) link

Excellent piece on Cela's The Hive

https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v45/n14/tim-parks/buttockitis

xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 5 July 2023 15:10 (seven months ago) link

I alas found it a grind after about fifty pages.

the dreaded dependent claus (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 5 July 2023 15:56 (seven months ago) link

Will try it again in a few weeks.

the dreaded dependent claus (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 5 July 2023 15:58 (seven months ago) link

two months pass...

Probably the first essay that talks about what Ernaux is doing in her fiction in pretty good length.

For me a French author: working class or not, diaristic, a woman, using life, writing flatly...is a thing I have seen before but Haslett talks about how she is able to replace the 'I' with 'We', and she really is very interested in showing how the lived is transformed by the diaries she has issued.

https://harpers.org/archive/2023/10/all-the-images-will-disappear/

xyzzzz__, Monday, 18 September 2023 18:23 (five months ago) link


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