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Pinter wins the Nobel Prize

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Harold Pinter wins the Nobel Prize for Literature. Article in the Guardian.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/arts/news/story/...1591458,00.html

Until today's announcement, Pinter was barely thought to be in the running for the prize, one of the most prestigious and (at €1.3m) lucrative in the world. After Pamuk and Adonis (whose real name is Ali Ahmad Said), the writers believed to be under consideration by the Academy included Americans Joyce Carol Oates and Philip Roth, and the Swedish poet Thomas Transtromer, with Margaret Atwood, Milan Kundera and the South Korean poet Ko Un as long-range possibilities. Following on from last year's surprise decision to name the Austrian novelist, playwright and poet Elfriede Jelinek as laureate, however, the secretive Academy has once again confounded the bookies.

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A member has decided to leave the Swedish academy because Elfride Jelinek received the Nobel price LAST year :)

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Press reporting of the Nobel juror's resignation here in Britain (sorry, can't give the exact reference, but I think it was the Guardian, which is my regular paper, so probably where I read it) suggests that this particular juror was also unhappy with the decision to award the Nobel this year to Harold Pinter, but was bound by confiodentiality rules, so chose for his dissent over last year's winner to become public ... However, his public dissent comes across as rather grumpy and probably misogynist. FWIW, I think both choices are excellent, and celebrate challenging bodies of work by both writers.

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I'm inclined to agree with redbookish. There are others who might have been honored first, but then in most years there usually are. Congrats.

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I enjoyed earlier Pinter. It's almost impossible to believe that The Caretaker and The Homecoming actually got the chance to run on Broadway. In films, I liked The Servant. A favorite adjective for his work is "enigmatic" -- a little of which goes a long way. So he lost me later on. On the whole, I prefer to read his wife's work -- and various members of her large and very talented family.

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It's almost impossible to believe that The Caretaker and The Homecoming actually got the chance to run on Broadway.

Yup, and John Osborne once had The Entertainer, Look Back in Anger, and Epitaph for George Dillon on Broadway simultaneously. Those were the days.

It is interesting the way many playwrights have a few great years, usually early on, and then peter out.

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However, his public dissent comes across as rather grumpy and probably misogynist. 

Either that or principled and humane. :wallbash:

I haven't read Pinter in 20+ years, but I've just pulled The Homecoming off the shelf.

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I did read Ahnlund's comments, and I regret to say that "principled and humane" doesn't quite characterize them, alas. There are plenty of reasons to argue about the choice of Jelinek, or Pinter for that matter, but I don't think he contributed much to the debate.

On the whole, I prefer to read his wife's work -- and various members of her large and very talented family.

I love the Mary Queen of Scots bio.

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I did read Ahnlund's comments, and I regret to say that "principled and humane" doesn't quite characterize them, alas.  There are plenty of reasons to argue about the choice of Jelinek, or Pinter for that matter, but I don't think he contributed much to the debate.

Ahnlund contends that Jelinek was chosen for reasons more ideological than literary. Regardless of whether or not he's correct, if he's honestly concerned, expressing that concern is principled. And caring in the first place, caring about what is and isn't considered great literature, about whether what a culture values is worth valuing, is humane. And Ahnlund's willingness to resign his position suggests that he is truly and deeply concerned.

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I was merely agreeing with redbookish that the circumstances around Ahnlund’s resignation and certain remarks of his quoted in the press didn’t contribute much to enlightened debate. In this as in other matters, there is always room for discussion. :)

The Guardian, which has a lot of useful links posted, also provides one with a list of all the prizewinners in this category since 1960.

http://books.guardian.co.uk/nobelprize/sto...1591466,00.html

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On a lighter note, my copy of The Homecoming is signed and I can't imagine by whom except the man himself, but the signature looks like "Meuul." "Meull"? That "M" could with some license become an "H." The "e" could become an "a." The apparent 'l" is a squared off "L" with no half circle to become a "D," but there is no no hint of an "r" or "o" in sight. The signature is dated 4/16/86, at which time I was living in Chicago. If memory serves, that's where I read the play.

Clues anyone? Do any Chicagoans here remember Pinter reading on the North Side?

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Ahnlund contends that Jelinek was chosen for reasons more ideological than literary. Regardless of whether or not he's correct, if he's honestly concerned, expressing that concern is principled.

My main point was that Mr Ahnlund should have resigned at the point of awarding the prize last year. That he didn't strikes me as perhaps rather unprincipled - cowardly? sulky possibly?

And, for me at least, I'm afraid that there's a suspicion in that critique of 'reasons more ideological than literary' that smacks of misogyny in its uncanny similarity to criticisms made of women's art in many fields since the year dot - which (reductively) basically proceed from the assumption that women's work is not, nor cannot be, art in the same way that men's work is. (Think of Robert Southey's advice to Charlotte Bronte for example). And suspiciously misogynist is the view that that any celebration of women's writing is 'ideological' - particularly any celebration of women's writing which - heaven forfend! - might be feminist in tone - as Jellinek's certainly is (or at least in the English translations I have read).

But maybe I'm just a suspicious feminist :wink: ?

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redbookish, I understand your suspicion, but similarity does not misogyny make. There is nothing peculiarly feminine about the qualities – violently pornographic and unstructured -- that Ahnlund finds offensive in Jelinek's work.

As for taking issue with celebrating women's art, that would be misogynist of course, but I’m afraid you are the one talking about women’s writing. Ahnlund only declined to celebrate one particular woman’s writing, and one particular, popular, but by no means universal or essentially feminine, ideology. My wife and my female friends identify with feminist concerns. None would celebrate, or even continue reading, violently pornography literature.

As for Ahnlund's waiting till now to resign, what's unprincipled etc. about waiting to make a point untill maximum notice of that point will be taken?

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My own thoughts were that his words and actions pretty much spoke for themselves. :unsure:

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One cannot really leave the Swedish academy, you are elected for a lifelong membership and you will be replaced first after your death.

I believe that there are four or five members that have "left" the academy for various political reasons and they are no longer active in the academy.

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Thanks for the information, Dr. Coppelius.

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