Why nobody likes the Nobel prize winners for literature. Galina Yuzefovich — about how to understand the logic of the award
In Stockholm 2 October starts the Nobel week. By tradition, the winner of the literary “Nobel prize” will be announced on Thursday, that is, in this time — October 5. The decision of the Nobel Committee for literature always causes the greatest number of questions and discussions about how worthy winner of awards. About the history of the Nobel prize for literature, Alfred Nobel’s ideas and strategies of the current Committee says the literary critic of “Medusa” Galina Yuzefovich. The article is written specifically for the new book Galina Yuzefovich, which will be released in “Version of Elena Shubina” in 2018.
From year to year, the decision of the Nobel Committee produces discontent in the broad, not related to literature circles. Swedish academics recklessly abused all over the planet, accusing them of political bias and lack of literary taste. The winner is not known to anyone — very bad, probably mediocrity. The winner of the too well-known — pandering to mass taste. The winner from China is nonsense, China has no literature. The winner of the USA — shame, academics caved under the Americans. The winner of the moderately well-known, hails from the venerable literary power and reputation, it has a decent — still bad, because how is it that when live reward X to Y. Each person is mentally trying on Nobel laurels on your favorite, and any decision that does not correspond to expectations, perceived in bayonets.
Response is even understandable, but before you engage in this kind of discussion, it is important to learn the following: procedure a multi-stage nomination and decision-making in the Nobel prize is that bad (mediocre and insignificant) writer to leak can not in principle — will be eliminated at the stage of selecting nominees.
The Nobel jury chooses between the good writers, great and great, nothing else.
If you don’t know anything about the winner, this problem is rather your (and our book market) than “Nobel”. So, when all of Russian society resented the award, “unknown” Chinese Mo Yanyu in English was already published twelve of his books, and the German eight, all very successful. So before complaining and to suspect that it was only “policy”, it is better to use the services of Google.
This does not mean that politics is not important: of course, the Nobel Committee drew attention to the nationality of the candidate and his political views, and the degree of popularity (or, on the contrary, persecuted) at home, and tries to observe in this matter a balance. However, the first and main criterion is the literary skill.
However, and this is obviously to choose among the great, outstanding and simply very good writers one of the-most — impossible technically, this means that to satisfy everyone is not possible, nothing to try.
Some results seem more logical, some less, but really stupid decisions, “Nobel” was not accepted for many years, so the credibility he needs to be large enough.
In short, that the main literary award of the world often awarded to writers is not enough, from our point of view known, and that the results are rarely satisfied with any a wide array of observers, the situation is relatively simple. Much more difficult — but more interesting — to answer the question of why “Nobel” is what it is and why the “living with X” prize and the truth often gets less popular and influential Y.
For this, we, as usual, will have to go back to basics — namely, in 1897, when Alfred Nobel wrote his famous last will. Already in the wording suggested by the founder of the award, there was some ambiguity: the award in the field of literature it was proposed to give “to those who create the most outstanding literary work of an idealistic direction.” It is obvious that the word “idealistic” could not cause issues. What is the meaning invested in him Nobel? “Idealistic” in the same sense in which it is used in the phrase “idealistic philosophy”? Or you rather mean “ideal” as “sample”? For a long time the matter remained debatable — it remains so today, however, recent studies [former permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy] Professor Sture Allen, who reviewed the original will under the microscope, allowed at least partially to shed light on the original vision of Alfred Nobel.
Allen found out that the word “idealistic” — idealisk was the result of a correction: originally, the document was cognate to him the word idealiserad meaning “idealizing”. It would seem that the easier this becomes, but something all can understand, if we impose this strange term in that historical epoch in which arose the prize. But it was happy, a bit naive, deceptively steady and peaceful.