Who will be the next American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature?

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When Saul Bellow passed away last month, I was struck by the thought that America is left with just a single Nobel laureate in literature (though what a laureate she is!). While this doesn't exactly amount to an national crisis, it did have me wondering who will be the next American writer to win the Nobel. Any ideas?

Mark Klobas, Saturday, 7 May 2005 17:13 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Please not JSF! Please not JSF!

Hurting (Hurting), Saturday, 7 May 2005 19:14 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I have your answer:
Evan S. Connell.

Ken L (Ken L), Saturday, 7 May 2005 19:49 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

fuck a nobel prize

Josh (Josh), Saturday, 7 May 2005 21:33 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Why? I agree that they're not the ultimate indicators of greatness (Mark Twain and Leo Tolstoy's reputations seem to be doing fine without either of them having won one), but they are a statement of who that era thinks is a great author. One might as well say the same about the Pulitzers, the Oscars, and the local company's employee-of-the-month award -- yet they're still given out and used as yardsticks of what to pay attention to.

Mark Klobas, Sunday, 8 May 2005 15:38 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

except that the committee is so even-handed and PC. If an american writer gets it another one won't get it for another 10 years at least, even if there is someone who deserves it.

jed_ (jed), Sunday, 8 May 2005 15:52 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Updike? Barth?

Mayor Maynot, Sunday, 8 May 2005 16:11 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

It ought to be Vonnegut, if there's justice in the world (or, I suppose merely in Sweden would be sufficient). The talking-animal fable is an underappreciated form - even if all of Vonnegut's animals happen to be human.

Aimless (Aimless), Sunday, 8 May 2005 17:19 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

'a statement of who that era thinks is a great author'

a pretty presumptuous statement

Josh (Josh), Sunday, 8 May 2005 19:11 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Barth veers into cheeseball territory a little too often to make him a serious contender. Roth maybe? Though Daniel Pinkwater really deserves it.

adam (adam), Monday, 9 May 2005 16:24 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

What heinous crimes do you have to commit to "deserve" it?

Casuistry (Chris P), Monday, 9 May 2005 18:18 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

literature

Øystein (Øystein), Monday, 9 May 2005 18:28 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

deserve it? just look at the way he's dressed!

http://www.ipl.org/div/kidspace/askauthor/photos/pinkwater.gif

Josh (Josh), Monday, 9 May 2005 19:27 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

ihttp://www.eseresi.it/foto_recensioni/pynchon.jpg

o. nate (onate), Monday, 9 May 2005 19:44 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

hmm, that didn't work

o. nate (onate), Monday, 9 May 2005 19:45 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Actually looking over the list of winners it's not as bad as I recalled it being.

Casuistry (Chris P), Monday, 9 May 2005 22:17 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

http://bvi.rusf.ru/fanta/foto/roth_ph2.jpg

mookieproof (mookieproof), Tuesday, 10 May 2005 07:48 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

It almost has to be roth.

scott seward (scott seward), Tuesday, 10 May 2005 11:11 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

is he gunning for it?

why would it not be Pynchon?

jed_ (jed), Tuesday, 10 May 2005 13:52 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I hope it John Fowles -- he deserves it, even if he's English/Brittish, not American.

mrblues, Tuesday, 10 May 2005 15:01 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

don't these people have to write a new book to win? I don't see another pynchon book on the horizon; Barth hasn't written anything that people like much in ages as far as I know; Vonnegut is so far past the point of writing a prizeworthy book; John Fowles: does he even write anymore?

Maybe Vollmann although I don't really believe anyone finishes any of his books. Also, i don't think it would be for a long, long time.

kyle (akmonday), Tuesday, 10 May 2005 15:46 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Nobel Prize (I Think It's Going To Be A Long, Long Time)

Ken L (Ken L), Tuesday, 10 May 2005 16:54 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

"is he gunning for it?"

he has written a string of BIG. IMPORTANT. NOVELS. Some even say his best ever. One more could put him over the top. And the last 3 or 4 have all been properly political.

scott seward (scott seward), Tuesday, 10 May 2005 22:29 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

don't these people have to write a new book to win?

i dont think that's the case but i may be wrong. it's given for a career not a book.

jed_ (jed), Wednesday, 11 May 2005 20:39 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

two months pass...
W

He's invented all those new words.

SRH (Skrik), Friday, 22 July 2005 21:56 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

one month passes...
I think it is for one book, actually. I'm pretty sure Hemingway got his for The Old Man and the Sea, though I could be talking out of my ass here.

Dan Dotson (Podslapper), Saturday, 17 September 2005 08:23 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

The Nobel literature prize is more of a lifetime achievment prize than a prize for any single literary work.

Aimless (Aimless), Sunday, 18 September 2005 19:49 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Yeah, looks like you're right. But to win one don't you have to write something noteworthy during the time of the nomination?

Dan Dotson (Podslapper), Monday, 19 September 2005 12:40 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I don't think so. Gunter Grass won, and, from what I understand, he hadn't written anything of note in quite a long time.

stewart downes (sdownes), Monday, 19 September 2005 12:59 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

huh.

Dan Dotson (Podslapper), Monday, 19 September 2005 16:03 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

hah

Aimless (Aimless), Monday, 19 September 2005 16:06 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Norman Mailer is my candidate for the next American to be awarded a Nobel Prize for literature.

After him, in order, I would say the most deserving would be Thomas Pynchon, Don DeLillo, Joyce Carol Oates, Ishmael Reed, John Ashbery,
John Updike.

Ted Burke, Sunday, 2 October 2005 20:19 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Looking over this thread, it seems almost a given that it would be Roth.

jaymc (jaymc), Monday, 3 October 2005 08:20 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Dylan was mentioned recently!

the bellefox, Monday, 3 October 2005 10:20 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Teh Pinefox, please!

k/l (Ken L), Monday, 3 October 2005 12:55 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I predict a drought so long that the next American to win the Lit Nobel

1) is probably presently younger than 55, and
2) has not yet written his/her key work.

M. V. (M.V.), Wednesday, 5 October 2005 02:14 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Wideman?

the literary thug, Wednesday, 5 October 2005 02:24 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I think Alice Munro may be the next North American to win it, btw.

M. V. (M.V.), Wednesday, 5 October 2005 02:31 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Adonis (Ali Ahmen Said) is presently the punters' favorite for 2005.

M. V. (M.V.), Saturday, 8 October 2005 14:13 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

In re: the predicted Nobel drought for the USA. That sounds about right. American literature has entered a fallow stage, after the huge excitements of the first half of the 20th century. The past 40 years have been OK, but not riveting, not galvanizing, nor any other metallurgical metaphor that occurs to me - unless it might be metal fatigue.

Aimless (Aimless), Saturday, 8 October 2005 14:24 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

are we counting mavis gallant as na or french?

anthony, Monday, 10 October 2005 04:16 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

If it's Alice Munro they'll all wake up one day and I'll have painted all the beige things eyeball-searing neon purple. HA!!!!

annerzinger, Monday, 10 October 2005 21:04 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Harold Pinter this year.
So who does Roth have to screw anyway?

Ray (Ray), Thursday, 13 October 2005 10:03 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

PINTER!!! wow, i didn't see that coming.

scott seward (scott seward), Thursday, 13 October 2005 10:48 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Scott, you came back to ILB just to answer Ray's question!

k/l (Ken L), Thursday, 13 October 2005 13:11 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Hahaha! yes, it seems I did! an unintentional funny there.

more talk here for people who are bored and need more momus in their life:

Nobel Prize for Pinter

scott seward (scott seward), Thursday, 13 October 2005 13:13 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Well done, Harold Pinter.

the pinefox, Thursday, 13 October 2005 13:36 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Yay.

M. V. (M.V.), Thursday, 13 October 2005 13:59 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

When Philip met Harold

k/l (Ken L), Thursday, 13 October 2005 14:14 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I think if Pynchon publishes a big novel again he'll win it. I'm surprised Mailer hasn't already won it. I'm not a big Roth fan.
Pinter is awesome.

wmlynch (wlynch), Friday, 14 October 2005 04:00 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

It's got to be Paul Auster.

Ich bin kein Berliner (alex in mainhattan), Thursday, 22 June 2017 15:23 (one year ago) Permalink

I think the frequent overt plagiarism it's an intentional artistic statement of some kind, i don't think it's necessarily a profound one. I do like Dylan though.

Treeship, Thursday, 22 June 2017 15:29 (one year ago) Permalink

My stance towards Dylan is very ambivalent. He has always been stealing from others but somehow he made something original out of it. I am still a fan of his mid 60s stuff, after that the quality of his output became pretty erratic. when i listened to him reading his nobel speech - before even knowing that he plagiarized - i found it boring as hell. a nobel prize speech where the laureate basically retells the plot of books by other people, how dud is that?

Ich bin kein Berliner (alex in mainhattan), Thursday, 22 June 2017 15:49 (one year ago) Permalink

I like singer/songwriter Nobel literature speeches that DON'T plagiarize Sparknotes

ps Fred B is the plague

President Keyes, Thursday, 22 June 2017 15:55 (one year ago) Permalink

I think basically he has floundered as a songwriting / album-making artist since the mid-seventies. Which is ok, I think at heart he has always been a folk-artist in the old tradition, retelling and redoing other peoples work in a more communal setting. Which is why his artistic work the last many many years has been his never ending tour. Not saying he hasn't released anything of value since then - I really like Time Out of Mind, but more as a weird soundscape - but honestly I think most of his releases has been done because that what you do, that's what he was supposed to do to stay in the cultural marketplace, and the shortcuts taken wrt plagiarism mostly relates to that.

The Bobness cultural industry is just stuck in a rut because he once shouted about Mr Jones and nobody knew who that was but it seemed really significant and it's really important to old guys that other old guys still are seen as being relevant.

But ymmv.

Frederik B, Thursday, 22 June 2017 15:55 (one year ago) Permalink

fred on dylan is like je55e and roundabouts, just a joy to read, dylan deserves this prize purely for enabling that IMO

mark s, Thursday, 22 June 2017 15:56 (one year ago) Permalink

Should've been shared with Stet & Keith in that case. Just saying.

Tim, Thursday, 22 June 2017 15:58 (one year ago) Permalink

https://media.makeameme.org/created/knowledge-is-knowing.jpg

mark s, Thursday, 22 June 2017 16:03 (one year ago) Permalink

johnny joey dee dee

mark s, Thursday, 22 June 2017 16:19 (one year ago) Permalink

Sadly no longer eligible but good suggestions.

Tim, Thursday, 22 June 2017 16:21 (one year ago) Permalink

Ken Nordine is still alive though.

Duncan Disorderly (Tom D.), Thursday, 22 June 2017 16:25 (one year ago) Permalink

... and Tom Lehrer.

Duncan Disorderly (Tom D.), Thursday, 22 June 2017 16:26 (one year ago) Permalink

xxps - from day 1 Dylan has appropriated without attribution, mixed the elements together and presented that shell to the outside world, like a virus mixing and matching the proteins on its surface to blend in with the host. The esteem in which he's held isn't his fault, nor is it a shell game by someone in a position of advantage. He's popular and lauded because he does it so well, like some kind of ur-folk-artist who refracts the mythology underpinning our culture into fascinating patterns. When the culture needs a winsome yokel troubadour, here he is. Socially conscious protest singer, check, back to the roots in a basement, yep, confessional self-lacerating introvert, man of faith, etc etc and on up to a catalyst for unifying "base" popular culture with highbrow academia via the most prestigious high-culture prize. Which he salts with the lowbrow everyman readings of the canon, as imposed on schoolchildren.
It's not an original thesis I know, but I honestly don't get the outrage at Dylan being absolutely consistent, and consistently brilliant, at cultural appropriation and distillation. It's what he does, it's what he has done from day 1. For me it's an incredible achievement, and in a sly backhanded way absolutely deserves the Nobel.

attention vampire (MatthewK), Thursday, 22 June 2017 23:42 (one year ago) Permalink

Dude...

Frederik B, Thursday, 22 June 2017 23:48 (one year ago) Permalink

You write as if Dylan invented appropriation.

Frederik B, Thursday, 22 June 2017 23:49 (one year ago) Permalink

Or stealing from sparknotes.

Frederik B, Thursday, 22 June 2017 23:50 (one year ago) Permalink

Yeah I agree with all of that.

Treeship, Thursday, 22 June 2017 23:51 (one year ago) Permalink

n.b. I work at an independent bookstore, and the people there are pretty serious about working at an independent bookstore, and they mostly think Dylan should have his Nobel taken away for the plagiarism.

Treeship, Thursday, 22 June 2017 23:53 (one year ago) Permalink

I mean I agree with MatthewK

Treeship, Thursday, 22 June 2017 23:55 (one year ago) Permalink

Not Mr B

Treeship, Thursday, 22 June 2017 23:55 (one year ago) Permalink

The main (fanatical) Dylan fan I know was all lolwot? when he heard about him getting the Nobel Prize.

Duncan Disorderly (Tom D.), Thursday, 22 June 2017 23:56 (one year ago) Permalink

... before Fred tars all Dylan fans with the same brush.

Duncan Disorderly (Tom D.), Thursday, 22 June 2017 23:57 (one year ago) Permalink

The best part of Dylan is that he is *both* a cultural shapeshifter/postmodern trickster spitting Americana back at us in refracted, magical forms, *and* a genuinely brilliant, empathetic writer and songwriter whose words have meant as much to me as anyone else's. I am slightly weirded out by the plagiarism stuff, but I can't deny that Chronicles was an incredible reading experience. There was an immediacy and presence in the narration that seemed stunning to me in 2005 when I read it, having known Dylan previously through his cryptic songwriting. The fact that this voice, this vivid, present, humane and human voice was a collage of plagiarism is just... whoa.

Treeship, Friday, 23 June 2017 00:01 (one year ago) Permalink

Like, the chronicles plagiarism was, if nothing else, fucking weird. The narrative seemed so seamless and genuine.

Treeship, Friday, 23 June 2017 00:03 (one year ago) Permalink

I get the same thing from The Waste Land, and the best parts of the Cantos, so I know the feeling.

Frederik B, Friday, 23 June 2017 00:05 (one year ago) Permalink

I don't think that the Sparknotes plagiarism is some kind of "easter egg". It's just Dylan being Dylan - someone's who's never been afraid to steal from high and low and any place in between - and most likely not someone overly concerned about scholarly standards for attribution. I thought it was an okay speech before the Sparknotes thing broke, and I think it's an okay speech now. I thought his Musicares speech at the Grammy's a couple years ago was better. Is it a better speech than I could do? Hell yeah. But judging Dylan based on the quality of a speech is almost as weird as, I dunno, giving him a prize for literature?

o. nate, Friday, 23 June 2017 01:57 (one year ago) Permalink

Frederik, never claimed originality, in fact quite the opposite would be the obvious conclusion to draw! I think the T. S. Eliot comparison is useful except for Dylan's vivid human qualities which I think TSE kept at arm's length.

And Treeship OTM - anyway we are all just a collage of culture and reference, it's not like we invented the words we speak.

attention vampire (MatthewK), Friday, 23 June 2017 05:35 (one year ago) Permalink

Where were you guys when melania trump needed you?

Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Friday, 23 June 2017 10:38 (one year ago) Permalink

lol

Frederik B, Friday, 23 June 2017 11:57 (one year ago) Permalink

dang

attention vampire (MatthewK), Friday, 23 June 2017 13:00 (one year ago) Permalink

I'd believe a "blackhearted gesture asserting nothing matters" coming from the Trump campaign.

jmm, Friday, 23 June 2017 13:08 (one year ago) Permalink

three months pass...

URL doesn't seem to work but the piece from New Republic was a nice kinda funny round-up. We can safely assume no Americans will win. Or should we etc.

Sergo Pitol would be my favourite from the very obscure list. He's great.

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 5 October 2017 09:21 (one year ago) Permalink

https://68.media.tumblr.com/avatar_b6d87f043c25_128.png

mark s, Thursday, 5 October 2017 09:54 (one year ago) Permalink

The next American winner of the Nobel *heart emoji*

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 5 October 2017 09:55 (one year ago) Permalink

My fucking lord

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 5 October 2017 11:12 (one year ago) Permalink

They've managed to be worse than last year.

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 5 October 2017 11:12 (one year ago) Permalink

mark s otm

more bemused than human (bizarro gazzara), Thursday, 5 October 2017 11:31 (one year ago) Permalink

He's written one book I thought was excellent (When We Were Orphans), one I enjoyed despite its flaws (Never Let Me Go). The other two I've read have been two out of the three books I've given up on in the last 15 years (The Unconsoled and The Buried Giant, the latter was almost unreadable).

Matt DC, Thursday, 5 October 2017 12:23 (one year ago) Permalink

"who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world".

I've only read Never Let Me Go. I didn't even know he was on the radar for a Nobel.

jmm, Thursday, 5 October 2017 12:38 (one year ago) Permalink

I threw Never Let Me Go across the room on two different occasions.

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 5 October 2017 12:46 (one year ago) Permalink

it was a sudden change of plans when tom petty died.

wmlynch, Thursday, 5 October 2017 13:53 (one year ago) Permalink

He's written one book I thought was excellent (When We Were Orphans), one I enjoyed despite its flaws (Never Let Me Go). The other two I've read have been two out of the three books I've given up on in the last 15 years (The Unconsoled and The Buried Giant, the latter was almost unreadable).

His rep mainly rests on the 3 books not mentioned here tho

President Keyes, Thursday, 5 October 2017 14:54 (one year ago) Permalink

The only novel of his I loved was THE REMAINS OF THE DAY, which is almost at the level of THE GOOD SOLDIER as a novel about ironic withholding of info.

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 5 October 2017 14:55 (one year ago) Permalink

the butler didn't do it

mark s, Thursday, 5 October 2017 14:56 (one year ago) Permalink

I wrote a snarky little article about 10 years ago telling people to put £20 on him getting the nobel because he was the kind of writer who wins prizes. Was thinking just a couple of weeks ago how wrong that seemed now, but, well, good on him. And good intuition, younger dumber me.

woof, Thursday, 5 October 2017 15:06 (one year ago) Permalink

God I am no good for this world take me now thanks.

Is it just me or is this not a bit, um, up itself? pic.twitter.com/EjRiT125hZ

— Ally Fogg (@AllyFogg) October 5, 2017

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 5 October 2017 15:12 (one year ago) Permalink

The only novel of his I loved was THE REMAINS OF THE DAY, which is almost at the level of THE GOOD SOLDIER as a novel about ironic withholding of info.

― morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, October 5, 2017 2:55 PM (nine hours ago)

yes, this is a perfect book imo. was assigned it in high school (oddly enough) and reread it a couple years ago and thought it held up beautifully. not a single wrong note.

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Thursday, 5 October 2017 23:57 (one year ago) Permalink

six months pass...

No lit Nobel this year because of a sexual assault scandal

Kanye is going to be bitterly disappointed.

lbi's life of limitless european glamour (Le Bateau Ivre), Friday, 4 May 2018 07:16 (seven months ago) Permalink


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