[ilds] Durrell and the Nobel

Richard Pine pinedurrellcorfu at gmail.com
Tue Nov 1 14:05:08 PDT 2016

It could be argued that it is a matter of opinion, and the Swedes, being
slow thinkers, have just caught up with public opinion in the 60s. The
1960s, that is. But, at that time, we were acclaiming our popular heroes,
while we pretended to smoke pot, we sat around listening to the Missa Luba
and burning joss sticks, drinking cheap Spanish Burgundy because  LD's own
adolescent diet of 'gin and Smith's crisps' was now out of our reach - gin
because it was now so heavily taxed, Smith's crisps because the magic had
gone out once they stopped including the blue twist of salt and had
introduced flavours (Sartre and Vinegar, Chomsky and Onions). And we
believed that with Joan of Arc Baez we were going to overcome. I personally
brought the Vietnam War to an end by marching solo on the US Embassy in
Berkeley Square. I was the nightingale.
Only five years ago,Carmen Callil, one of the judges, resigned in protest
at the awarding of the Booker prize to Philip Roth on the grounds that he
was not a serious writer. "I don't rate him as a writer at all", she said.
On the other hand, Martin Amis said "If Roth doesn't deserve to win, who
does?" - well, if Amis likes you, you can't be much good. So it's all a
matter of opinion, isn't it. And those Swedes do have opinions. Not
necessarily their own, of course, but opinions nonetheless.
I was once present at a conversation which went as follows:
Finnish composer: "We have a problem, coming out from under the shadow of
Norwegian composer: "We have the same problem, coming out from under the
shadow of Grieg".
A long pause, then, together: "The Swedes don;'t have that problem, ha ha

On Tue, Nov 1, 2016 at 9:22 PM, Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>

> Yes, “political correctness” at its worst.  The Nobel Prize for Literature
> is for literature, not song writers, no matter how in tuned to the
> *Zeitgeist*.  Assuming the Committee was focusing on America and Canada,
> those other rejected North Americans, who are true writers and poets,
> include:  Thomas Pynchon, Philip Roth, Cormac McCarthy, and Anne Carson.
> Does Dylan equal any of those?  I hardly think so.
> Bruce
> On Nov 1, 2016, at 11:40 AM, Richard Pine <pinedurrellcorfu at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> The choices each year of the Nobel prize winners - at least in the
> Literature and Peace categories - are determined by political correctness.
> In the case of Dylan, this is stretching a point. Those of us old enough to
> remember the impact of Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Joan Baez and others in the
> 1960s will acknowledge that, culturally, they turned our minds to issues in
> an immediately accessible way that books might not have done. But looking
> at the TEXTS of Dylan's lyrics, they do not, divorced from the music,
> amount to a body of literature. It is this point, rather than Dylan's
> iconic cultural status, that excites frustration, dismay and anger.
> Undoubtedly Dylan deserves the highest praise, but is the new direction in
> which the Nobel committee is pointing the correct path along which such an
> award should be considered? Maybe there should be a prize equivalent to the
> Nobel awards, for such people. Dylan succeeded, where recipients of the
> Peace Prize have been shown subsequently to be lamentable failures
> (Northern Ireland TWICE). The islanders of Lesvos were among the nominees
> for this year's Peace Prize, yet what have these elderly folk done for
> peace, other than give shelter to desperate refugees? That hardly amounts
> to any claim towards, or ambition for, world peace. Just a humanitarian
> gesture from the heart.
> On Tue, Nov 1, 2016 at 8:08 PM, Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net>
> wrote:
>> I think the Nobel Committee, by virtue of those it has rejected as worthy
>> of the prize, has completely disqualified itself as capable of identifying
>> literary merit.  Its selection of Bob Dylan only confirms my opinion.
>> Bruce
>> > On Nov 1, 2016, at 10:59 AM, James Gifford <james.d.gifford at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>> >
>> > Hi all,
>> >
>> > With the recent discussion around Dylan, I thought these prior comments
>> on Durrell and the Nobel might be of interest:
>> >
>> > https://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/jan/03/swedish-academ
>> y-controversy-steinbeck-nobel
>> >
>> > https://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/jan/05/jrr-tolkien-nobel-prize
>> >
>> > James Clawson will present some detailed quantitative data on the Nobel
>> committee in Louisville this Spring, but in the meantime it's helpful to
>> see what kept the prize out of Old D's reach in 1961 & '62.
>> >
>> > Cheers,
>> > James
>> >
>> >
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