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Nobel Prize


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#1 Pamela Moberg

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 03:39 AM

I think it has become a kind of tradition here that I am the first one to report on the Nobel Prize in literature.
At exactly 1 p.m. (Swedish time) the Secretary of the Royal Swedish Academy (who is a great ballet fan btw) opened the door and announced:
JMG LE CLEZIO
He is a contemporary French author writing a lot about his past life in Africa and Mauritius, 68 years old. Not at all a "difficult" writer and I can recommend his books.
Personally I am very pleased.
:)

#2 Estelle

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 01:45 PM

Thanks for the announcement, Pamela ! :)

I've read only one book by Le Clézio so far (his novel "Desert"), and it was long ago... I remember its style was quite poetic. All these articles today about him made me feel like reading some other books by him. Pamela, would you especially recommend some of his books ?

In his interviews today, he insisted that it also was the first Nobel prize for Mauritius, as he has dual citizenship (his parents, who were first cousins, had French roots, but their family had settled in Mauritius since the 18th century). Nowadays he and his wife spend much time in Albuquerque (NM), but it seems that only a handful of his books have been translated into English...

#3 carbro

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 02:47 PM

NPR ran a feature on this author. The audio isn't up as I post this, but the transcript is: http://www.npr.org/t...toryId=95329036

Sounds like an excellent choice. Now that Le Clezio has the Nobel Prize, maybe his entire oeuvre will be translated into English. :)

#4 dirac

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 05:32 PM

Thanks very much, Pamela. Please keep this tradition going. :) Not having read the gentleman, I have nothing intelligent to add, but I hope others familiar with his work in addition to Pamela and Estelle will do so!

Pamela, is there one in particular you would recomment to someone not familiar with his work?

#5 Pamela Moberg

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Posted 11 October 2008 - 05:01 AM

No, I am afraid there is no particular work by Le Clezio that I would recommend. But for myself, I am going to start with anything that is about Mauritius.
When I lived in London I had a lot of Mauritian friends and reading about the island I might understand them better. All those friends I had used to work in the GPO as it was called then (the national telephone company). In order to work there you had to speak both English and French fluently. Some French people I knew said that the Mauritian French was a kind of very old fashioned French which was normal in France in 1800 or so, the Mauritians themselves said that they did not really speak French, but Creole. Might be the same in Louisiana, any posters from there have any opinion on this? I am just curious and very interested in how languages change over the centuries.

#6 Paul Parish

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Posted 12 October 2008 - 08:40 PM

I can say a tiny bit about new orleans french, since my family's from there [Kate Chopin's a distant relation] and the sense of tradition is strong (stronger than the traditions themselves, at least in my mother's case). Mama spoke only a tiny bit of French, a few catch-phrases, and I always felt she was kinda gleefully quoting things she remembered hearing the old folks say. It always had an emotional coloring -- "Tant pis for you" was always gleeful. Her mother was raised bilingual, and still spoke French when she played canasta with old friends from the convent school after Grandpa died. They said "il n'y a pas de quois' instead of 'de rien" and other old-fashioned things like that. Mama said things were "faisandee" and curled her nose as if something smelled bad when things were wrong in a je ne sais quoi sort of way. and you knew you couldn't press the issue. I think she'd have thought Sylvie Guillem's Raymonda was faisandee.

Cajun French is quite different -- it's country-people's language, shrimpers', rice-growers', whose ancestors were Canadian French who were resettled in western Louisiana after the French and Indian War; new orleans creoles considered themselves urbane, and in fact, they were -- provincial, but urbane.


No, I am afraid there is no particular work by Le Clezio that I would recommend. But for myself, I am going to start with anything that is about Mauritius.
When I lived in London I had a lot of Mauritian friends and reading about the island I might understand them better. All those friends I had used to work in the GPO as it was called then (the national telephone company). In order to work there you had to speak both English and French fluently. Some French people I knew said that the Mauritian French was a kind of very old fashioned French which was normal in France in 1800 or so, the Mauritians themselves said that they did not really speak French, but Creole. Might be the same in Louisiana, any posters from there have any opinion on this? I am just curious and very interested in how languages change over the centuries.



#7 Pamela Moberg

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Posted 13 October 2008 - 02:55 PM

Thank you, Paul, for clearing up at least that part of the world. Isnt it interesting how languages change from the "old country" to what those emigrating end up speaking. English of course is the prime example of this and sure a lot depends on the region where those emigrating came from. I have two other rather interesting examples: There were lots of Swedes going to the East Coast of the US, but I have heard that the old people there really have a hard time getting their youngsters to learn any Swedish. In Russia there is also a remnant (from a war in 1700 something I believe) of a people who live in a village that is still called on the map :"Old Swedish village". This is in the south, near the Black Sea and recent reports have it that a few very old people manage a conversation in some kind of ancient Swedish, whereas the youngsters couldnt care less.

#8 Estelle

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Posted 21 October 2008 - 10:39 AM

In Russia there is also a remnant (from a war in 1700 something I believe) of a people who live in a village that is still called on the map :"Old Swedish village". This is in the south, near the Black Sea and recent reports have it that a few very old people manage a conversation in some kind of ancient Swedish, whereas the youngsters couldnt care less.


Now we're getting off-topic, but that's quite fascinating!
It reminds me of some similar examples in southern Italy: for example, there are several villages in Sicily and Puglia with some Albanian-speaking minorities (their ancestors emigrated there from Albania or Greece in the 15th and 16th century), and also in Puglia, there are a few villages called "Grecia Salentina" which speak a dialect called "griko" which is very close to Greek (also spoken in a few villages of Calabria), and there also are two cities with people speaking franco-provençal (their ancestors were soldiers from the French region of Anjou who went there in the 13th century with Charles d'Anjou...)


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