funny thing about Boris Pasternak…. the CIA helped to publish Doctor Zhivago, or rather, “assisted” getting it distributed:
He deserves the Nobel Prize. Vargas Llosa is a literary figure, a great storyteller, using the innovations from Faulkner and the accuracy of Flaubert. He is also a political figure: the most prominent (and misplaced) promoter of Thatcherism in Latin America.
I’m upset Haruki Murakami didn’t win, but it’s no big deal.
Vargas Llosa is a good choice, I thought. The last couple were rather obscure European writers. But, looking down the list there has been a very diverse range of writers selected in recent years. Not Eurocentric at all. I keep waiting for Carlos Fuentes to be selected.
New translation of Doctor Zhivago coming out this month, which hopes to redress the shortcomings of the 1958 translation.
It was the only way to showcase 2 amazing Greek poets. I don’t think anyone would have read them otherwise except people like me who are usually called elitists.
I haven’t read 1% of the works of Nobel Laureates and I’d be surprised if any Mubi Nobel experts have either. It’s ok not to have an opinion on everything, folks. Actually, Dimitris has it right…appreciate it for rewarding what you do know.
Go Cormac McCartthy in 2011!
“Go Cormac McCartthy in 2011!”
“It’s ok not to have an opinion on everything, folks. "
Somehow correct but it’s not bad to spit on the monopoly of literature. We just need more open-minded editors, critics and publishers and we won’t need a fucking Nobel to read Greek masterpieces or Yugoslav, Indian and anything else beyond the Anglophone and Francophone dictatorship.
(this dictatorship doesn’t specifically apply to cinema, literature is a slave of it too)
I haven’t read 1% of the works of Nobel Laureates and I’d be surprised if any Mubi Nobel experts have either. It’s ok not to have an opinion on everything, folks.
Well, with that logic, no one would be qualified to have an opinion on anything.
Look, philistine, the Nobel has never been awarded to a Texan. End the dictatorship!
^ Americans, Texans, whatever. What is this, some sort of Quebec / Catalonia independence disorder?
“what are people’s opinions of Dickens out of curiosity, as I am reading one of his novels now.”
I dig Dickens. Dude was great at laying out the whole meaning of his work in each separate serial presentation of his novel while still holding anticipation for understanding the novel as a whole, like a really, really good miniseries. The reason why Dickens is often used in early high school level English courses is because he writes clearly and his symbolism and themes are relatively easy to understand. He’s good people.
“What are your opinions on Llosa?”
Haven’t read, haven’t an opinion.
“Somehow correct but it’s not bad to spit on the monopoly of literature.”
Good stuff, this. Off hand, though, I end up learning more about literature here than I tend to on book forums. Book forums have introduced me to Stranger in a Strange Land (interesting, good in places, but ultimately very, very flawed) and The Dark Tower (yuck). This forum’s introduced me to 2666 and A Man without Qualities . Just sayin’.
“Americans, Texans, whatever. What is this, some sort of Quebec / Catalonia independence disorder?”
Hahahaha! Actually, Dimitris, the relationship between the United States and Texas is an at times beguiling, horrifying, hilarious, and sometimes even interesting look into the political Theatre de l’Absyrd. Honestly, and I mean this very warmly, if you were either Texan or someone who lived in a state next to Texas (I DO!), considering your personality I’d imagine you’d have some incredibly amazing things to say about this issue. In this thought game, however, I really hope you’d live in a bordering state, as opposed to Texas.
But all that really doesn’t have anything to do with anything here. I’m pretty sure Jerry Johnson was just being droll.
I want to make a movie with you.
I want to make a documentary.
Working title: “Dimitris in Texas”
I will pay your way over and for your room and board.
We could set up a Kickstarter account and possibly make this an StL! Production.
-looking down the list there has been a very diverse range of writers selected in recent years. Not Eurocentric at all.-
Historically, it’s quite Eurocentric. It’s arguable more pluralistic in recent decades, but still:
-I haven’t read 1% of the works of Nobel Laureates and I’d be surprised if any Mubi Nobel experts have either. It’s ok not to have an opinion on everything, folks.-
I haven’t kept a spreadsheet or anything, but my number’s bigger than 1%. Regardless, you don’t need to have read every work by ever awarded author any more than you have to have seen ever Academy Award winner to have an opinion about the Oscars.
Well, it’s just a prize. Saying the nobel prize is a joke is the same as saying the cannes film festival is a joke.
ROSSI: I think “The Trial” is considered Kafkas magnum opus, not “Metamorphosis”
I do think that some of Dickens books are a little too advanced to be read in the early part of High School. For example, I had Hard Times assigned to me in college. And books like Great Expectations and David Copperfield are perfectly acceptable reading for adults. Thus, I’m saying that a college grad should not feel sheepish about reading Dickens, at least I do not think so, perhaps with the exception of A Christmas Carol. I will say though that I did not read much Dickens in HS, just A Tale of Two Cities, and for a history class no less.
I am not in disagreement with you. I for one still have Great Expectations sitting at home, waiting for me to return and read eventually.
Here’s a list of the 100 greatest writers of all time. It certainly seems more reasonable than the list of Nobel Laureates.
Euro-centric, academic and extremely 20th-century based choices.
Take half from that list, half from the Nobel one and MANY from the rest of the world and THEN you’ll have a definite library.
(excluding philosophers that is)
How is this more reasonable than the Nobel one by the way? If there are more than 5 people who have read Mistral, Seferis and Jiménez poetries and consider them worthless, show yourselves!
The Nobel is about as useful to me as, say, the Cannes awards. Certainly not a canon-maker, but an indication that a certain author is, more likely than not, worth checking out. Probably wouldn’t have gotten into Saramago this summer if he hadn’t won the Nobel. Just sayin’.
EDIT: Oh, and my girlfriend read The Feast of the Goat in Spanish last year, and was very, very excited about Vargas Llosa’s recent honor, so that’s a positive review from her. I don’t know the first thing about his work, not being a scholar of Latin American literature to the least extent, but I know his name from Bolaño’s The Savage Detectives, I believe, in which he is namedropped relentlessly.
I don’t think that list of 100 writers is more reasonable than the choices of the Nobel Prize commitee, aside the absurd ranking which doesn’t make any sense they actually left out some of the undoubtly greatest authors of the 20th century who did win a Nobel Prize, as for instance Yasunari Kawabata, Thomas Mann, Rabindranath Tagore, Pablo Neruda and Naguib Mahfouz. Their list is even more dominated by European and North American writers than the Nobel Prize selections, and offers a heavily biased and narrowed perspective of world literature, the two classical authors Tu Fu and Rumi thrown in to represent the totality of Asian literature makes the list even more ridiculous.
“the two classical authors Tu Fu and Rumi thrown in to represent the totality of Asian literature makes the list even more ridiculous.”
It’s an American trend.
I’m a good reader without literary education, I have read many Nobel Prize winners, and I think they are all highly recommended. Sienkiewicz (Poland) is now an outdated novelist, but it is undeniable that his novels are full of color. Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset (Norway) is a monumental novel as long as War and Peace. A conventional novel with an admirable narrative. We must dust off these great authors.
Vargas Llosa is an odd choice. I like what I’ve read by him fine but if you consider the far greater Latin American writers who never won (Borges, Cortázar, Fuentes – just to name the big ones), it’s not a very good pick. And many Latin Americans are pretty ambivalent about his win since he has pretty sketchy political views (neoliberal economics combined with anti-indigenous). Makes his win especially odd since the word is that Borges never won because the Swedes didn’t like his politics (on the other hand, Borges never ran for political office and his bad political views were largely a product of his anti-peronism) but they seemed to have loosened up on an ideological litmus test (see Naipaul).
There are certainly many Latin American writers whose works I would regard as superior compared to those by Vargas Llosa, and among the so-called “boom” writers Carpentier, Cortázar, Onetti or Donoso were far more innovative in terms of style and subject matter as far as I’m concerned. But since those writers are already dead, I would probably regard Ernesto Sábato as the most deserving Latin American Nobel Prize candidate still alive. Maybe Carlos Fuentes might have also have deserved it more than Vargas Llosa, but I haven’t read enough by him to judge. His opus magnum “Terra nostra” is definitely on my to-read list though.
“Euro-centric, academic and extremely 20th-century based choices.”
Are you trying to say that the opinion of academics is invalid with regard to great writers. I don’t see what’s wrong with people like Dickens, Kafka, Dostoyevsky, Joyce. Is it Euro-centric, sure, but you should not dismiss a list for being too academic, as if academics automatically do not know what they are talking about.
Dismissing a list for being Euro-centric and 20th century based is certainly reasonable, but I think it’s unreasonable to dismiss it because its too academic, especially since most academics have devoted their lives and have gotten PhDs in literature. Thus, they know what they are talking about and their opinions should be considered at length.
“especially since most academics have devoted their lives and have gotten PhDs in literature.”
That’s why I never cared for literary courses and literary schools. Stale, old-fashioned and solely focused on the same old praised individuals. I don’t mind the academics as an entity and of them preserving iconic works, I mind their meager thinking and their decadent views.
Which writers do you read Dimitris, out of curiosity.
“That’s why I never cared for literary courses and literary schools. Stale, old-fashioned and solely focused on the same old praised individuals. I don’t mind the academics as an entity and of them preserving iconic works, I mind their meager thinking and their decadent views.”
sooooooo…. I guess Dimitris has not been around a Literature department since 1970…