The Literary Nobel
More reactions to the Nobel Prize Swedish committee's choice this year:
Neue Zürcher Zeitung 10.10.2008
Peter Urban-Halle has no real quibbles about Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio winning the Nobel Prize for literature. He appreciates the novelist's "elegantly sophisticated style", "his colourful description, his musical undertones." But he has a few reservations: "In his early novels there is an overwhelming sense of misanthropic reality and disgust at life. His second book "The Flood" encapsulated the experience of catastrophe. With "Shark" in 1971 he changed tack and headed for non-European cultures and their holistic view of the world and things in general. In his seemingly simplistic, discreet way, Le Clezio is attacking the divide between man and matter. You could almost describe the result as reactionary, a refusal of intelligence and sophistication."
Die Presse 10.10.2008
Norbert Mayer could not be more contemptuous about Le Clezio's nomination. "The Academy can be relied upon to be narrow-minded. True to form, Engdahl and the other Swedish jury members awarded the Nobel Prize to a well-travelled Frenchman, a diligent scribe who is remarkable for being completely unremarkable outside Paris, despite having spent the last 35 years writing nice, conscientious literature which practises tough criticism of the capitalist west, while presenting exotic civilisations as naive and happy. A model Swede."
This year's Nobel winner, Clézio, might have been computer-generated to receive the laureateship. Franco-Mauritian by origin, married to a Moroccan, preoccupied with pre-Columbian American civilisation, he typifies the progressive, anti-colonialist mentality that ticks all the boxes in Stockholm. In corollary, there are first-rate writers who would never be considered for the prize, on ideological grounds.
"Civilization is not self-supporting. It is artificial. If you are not prepared to concern yourself with the upholding of civilization -- you are done." (Ortega y Gasset)
Sunday, October 12, 2008
The Literary Nobel