Pamela Moberg

Nobel Prize to be announced 13 October

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That time has come around again. The Nobel Prize in literature - impossible to guess. The Syrian poet Adonis is a favorite, so is Haruki Murakami. Adonis has been in the running for a number of years, but so has

Murakami, though not for that many years.

Those are the two top names here in Sweden. What about other parts of the world? Any suggestions?

The announcement will be made on Thursday at 1 p.m. (Swedish time) so you will all know after about five minutes.

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Thanks for the reminder, Pamela. 

 

Well, I'm still reading my Modianos, the latest being "Little Jewel," just released in English this spring. The prize this year could indeed go to Adonis – but after reading a recent NYRB interview with him, I have trouble figuring out where he stands regarding the compexities of the Syrian Civil War. So it's hard figuring out what statement the award would make in that case.

 

An award to Peter Nadas or Laszlo Krasznahorkai might send a signal about the crack down on cultural organizations in Hungary (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/06/hungary-culture-crushed). Murakami is probably too successful to meet the usual profile (neglect / artistic worth / nod to disenfranchised groups).

 

But maybe Marilynne Robinson?

 

Here's an odds list, with many familiar and not so familiar names. 

 

http://www.nicerodds.co.uk/nobel-prize-in-literature

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There is an announcement on Nobel org. that the literature prize will be announced later. What?!

This is the week when all the awards - physics, medicine etc are announced. Could there be some deep disagreement in the Swedish Academy?

 

Well, sorry to disappoint you, but not to worry, I will let you know as soon as I have some news 

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1 hour ago, sandik said:

A mystery...

Indeed, indeed...

This is the week of announcements, one every day - it has always been like that. This is unprecedented - there was one year when there was a bit of a fracas over Salman Rushdie and a couple of members resigned. In due course we will no doubt learn the reason - as far as I know there are no scandals. The Academy is from 1700 something and it is a most serious institution, so there might be something really earth shaking going on behind the scenes.

 

But trust me, I will keep you posted!

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The Nobel Peace Prize has just been awarded. The recipient is the president of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos, he is given the prize for his struggle againt the Farc guerilla.

 

It already seems that this is enormously controversial and it will be most interesting to follow the the very heated debate which will no doubt ensue.

 

(I have explained this before but just to refresh the memory: The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded by Norway because in those days Sweden and Norway were one country, the partition took place in 1905). 

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I believe Santos was awarded the prize for his efforts to negotiate a peace deal with the FARC, rather than for a struggle against them. I'm not sure I understand why the award would be controversial, although it would certainly have seemed more on point had the referendum to authorize the peace agreement had gone the other way. 

 

 

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Yes, Kathleen, you are so right! I am sorry I expressed myself in a clumsy way, I just flew from the live television broadcast in Oslo to the keyboard to report. I take it as a kind of sport to report at once I hear something - not more than 30 seconds delay!

 

There is an opinion here that the prize should have been given collectively to the people of some Greek islands who really went out of their way to help refugees from traffickers who had just dumped them, wet, freezing and starving and with small babies in their arms on the shores of these islands.

 

Well, I think Santos deserved it anyway, the civil war has been going on for 50 years, hundreds of thousands have died in the process and if there will be calm now, all to the good.

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No worries! 

 

And I can see why the people who have gone above and beyond to help those fleeing horrors most of us can't even imagine would be deemed worthy of an award (although giving them some concrete assistance with their efforts would be a good thing, too). 

 

I was pleased to see Santos' efforts recognized, although less for his sake than for Colombia's generally. I've been there; it's a gorgeous place and the people I met and worked with there couldn't have been more welcoming. It broke my heart to see what decades of violence can do to a country.

 

 

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It would not be the first time that the committee has handed out a peace prize for a peace that actually hasn’t happened yet in hopes of influencing the process, but ideally perhaps you should get a peace prize for having actually made peace. But then they gave it to Obama at at a time when his peacemaking efforts had gone no further than the Beer Summit, so this is better, I'd say.

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This was the most unexpected ever - must admit that I am in a state of shock and totally unable to make further comments. Over to you, ladies and gentlemen...

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Well, as someone who grew up in the 60s and 70s, when colleges regularly gave lit courses in lyrics, I can understand the fundamental logic that got them there but this is very, very unusual for the Nobel committee.

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At last the work will finally get people's attention... Dylan has been ignored for too long outside his own tiny country or, at best, only known to a small coterie of aficionados :dry: ...

 

Edited by Drew

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1 hour ago, Drew said:

At last the work will finally get people's attention... Dylan has been ignored for too long outside his own tiny country or, at best, only known to a small coterie of aficionados :dry: ...

 

 

I expect that most of what's written and said about this year's award will focus on Dylan's groundbreaking 1960s work, plus his 1975 classic Blood on the Tracks, and understandably so. But if some of it draws attention to latter day and lesser known albums like Infidels, Oh Mercy, Time Out of Mind (for which he won a Grammy) and Love and Theft, I'll be pleased. 

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1 hour ago, Drew said:

At last the work will finally get people's attention... Dylan has been ignored for too long outside his own tiny country or, at best, only known to a small coterie of aficionados :dry: ...

 

 

I'm so glad the Committee chose to pass on those fame-craving poets, laboring in obscurity to master an extraordinarily demanding literary form with little hope of wide recognition absent a timely suicide.  

 

Also, Smokey Robinson, once identified by the honoree as America's greatest poet, is still around and about, with small hope of making the Nobel short list. Smokeywuzrobbed, I say.

 

 

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I was disappointed in this. Bob Dylan doesn't need authenticating and his work is more about music than literature.The choice deprives us of a chance to discover a new writer and another country's culture. It seems to be a pass for a year.

 

Pamela, have you heard anything about why the announcement was delayed?

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The Nobel for literature is supposed to go to "the most outstanding work in an ideal direction." Dylan's work, the Nobel committee says, fits the bill "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition." I can't think of another contemporary songwriter who can match him, and match him in quantity of output, in that regard. 

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Dylan may seem a surprising choice, but not so much given the huge influence his lyrics have had on both songwriters and, yes, literary writers. But it is true that lyrics are accompanied by and coordinate with, music, they do not often make music of their own as poetry is often called upon to do. So was this award a mistake? Perhaps, but I think they are essentially giving a 'lifetime achievement award', taking all things Dylan into account.

Here's the link to the NYT article:
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/14/arts/music/bob-dylan-nobel-prize-literature.html

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True, pherank, Dylan’s work has already been amply recognized, both in critical and popular terms, throughout the world.And there are already plenty of high-profile prizes for songwriters. Like Quiggin, I hope this is a one-off........

 

 

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Indeed Olga, indeed, I will be back to you shortly, but first to Quiggin. Yes, the delay might have something to do with this most unusual choice; the Swedish Academy is normally a very secretive body and as yet, nothing has leaked to the press - but who knows, there might have been loud voices and attempts at fisticuffs under the chandeliers...

Olga, yes, the times they are a changing. Maybe the Academy is only trying to reinvent itself - there has been critical voices to the effect that it is extraordinarily stuffy and only good at digging up some unheard of poet in some obscure Eastern country - a poet who is forgotten again as soon as the festivities are over. By the same token, the prize should not be awarded to a writer who is very prolific and selling books by the truckload. (There goes Joyce Carol Oates).  Which Dylan is, if not books but records. I heard one snide comment, Dylan is already a millionaire, he doesnt need that hefty sum of prize money...

Well, arguments for and against, and as Dirac pointed out, there are already plenty of prizes for singer-songwriters. There is another important Swedish prize, the Polar Prize, awarded to one  classical musician and to one popular music artist - that might have been a better idea.

 

Finally, this is just my own personal opinion - if the Swedish Academy has branched out into this particular field, I have a suggestion: Leonard Cohen.

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Pamela - That's exactly what I said this morning: Leonard Cohen.

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