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President Barack Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize?
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Joined: 12 Mar 2008
Posts: 1129
Location: Bremen, Germany

PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JaneO wrote:
I don't think many Americans are particularly distressed that Philip Roth has not won a Nobel prize. After all, neither did Proust or Joyce. I think many people were offended by last year's comment from Mr. Engdahl, who is a permanent member of the Nobel committee:
There is powerful literature in all big cultures, but you can't get away from the fact that Europe still is the centre of the literary world ... not the United States. The US is too isolated, too insular. They don't translate enough and don't really participate in the big dialogue of literature ...That ignorance is restraining.

I viewed Engdahl's comments as a preemptive response against the annual lament of "I have never heard of this writer and he/she does not write in English and said something critical about the US once, so of course the winner is unworthy" by US critics. I get very weary of that argument, particularly when directed against writers who are anything but obscure or unknown. And if I were a member of the Nobel committee I can imagine that I would be very pissed off.

I still think Engdahl could have phrased his argument better, but he's not completely wrong. The US literary scene is not overly aware of what's being written elsewhere. Though that's not the fault of individual writers and there certainly are US writers who would deserve a Nobel Prize.
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