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The Nobel Prize in Literature


Alfred Bern-hard Nobel was not famous for being a writer. But he loved literature for his whole life. The Nobel Prizes became an extension a fulfillment of his life-time interests. He liked read many great works by Shelly, Byron, Shakespeare, Ibsen, Maupassant, Gogol, Tolstoy, Tugenev. He loved the works by Shelly in particular. French writer Hugo was once his friend. He left some poems, novels dramas. His You Say I Am a Riddle is a long poetry in autographic style In Brightest Africa The Sisters are his two unpublished novels. His dramas include The Patent Bacillus Nemesis. And that is the reason why he set up Nobel Literature Prize among the 5 prizes.
Under the term "literature", not only "the belle-lettres" but also "other writings which, by virtue of their from style, possess literary value" are comprised such as historical writings philosophical writings. Therefore, Christian Matthias Theodor Mommsen (German historian, 1902 awarding), Rudolf Christoph Eucken (German philosopher, 1908 awarding), Henri Bergson (French philosopher, 1927 awarding), Earl Russell (Great Britain philosopher, 1950 awarding), Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (Great Britain, former Premier, 1953 awarding) became the Nobel Prize laureates for their great works on history philosophy.
Usually, the awarding is based on the achievement throughout the whole writing life of a cidate; occasionally, the basis was the achievement of just one piece of writing. Since 1901 awarding, the Literature Prize awarding was once ceased in 1914, 1918, 1935, 1940 1943 due to the two World Wars. In 1904, 1917, 1966 1974, the Literature Prize was equally divided by two laureates. Boris Leonidovich Pasternak (former USSR) Jean-Paul Sartre (France) denied to accept the Prize in 1958 1964 respectively. Although the former had no alternative but to deny the prize the latters decision was of his own accord, the Swedish Academy still considers the awarding in the two years as valid. Until October 2014, there have been 111 Nobel Literature Prize laureates (20 being in good health) residing in 37 ries. The top five ries where the laureates come from are France (15 individuals), USA (11 individuals), Great Britain (10 individuals), Sweden (8 individuals) Germany (8 individuals). The average age of all the Nobel Literature Prize laureates is 64 years old. The youngest while being awarded the prize was Rudyard Kipling (Great Britain) in 1907 who was then 42. The eldest while being awarded the prize was Doris Lessing (Great Britain) in 2007 who was then already 87. There are 13 female laureates in the Nobel Literature Prize. They are Selma Ottilia Lovisa Lagerlof (Sweden, 1909 awarding), Grazia Deledda (Italy, 1926 awarding), Sigrid Undset (Norway, 1928 awarding), Pearl Buck (USA, 1938 awarding), Gabriela Mistral (Chile, 1945 awarding), Nelly Sachs (Sweden, 1966 awarding), Nadine Gordimer (South Africa, 1991 awarding), Toni Morrison (USA, 1993 awarding), Wislawa Szym-borska (Pol, 1996 awarding), Elfriede Jelinek (Austria, 2004), Doris Lessing (Great Britain, 2007), Herta Müller (Germany, 2009), Alice Munro (Canada, 2013).
The Nobel Literature Prize is awarded by the Nobel Committee for Literature at Swedish Academy. The Committee is composed of 5 permanent members. The Swedish Academy was established in 1786 with 18 academicians.
There have been occasional mistakes in the nomination, screening finalization of the cidates for the prize awarding due to the academicians limitation in historical background, in perception orientation in knowledge accumulation, resulting in strong resentments. There once were some experts who listed the writers who should have been awarded the Nobel Literature Prize such as Tolstoy (Russia), Gorky (Russia), Hardy (Great Britain), Lawrence (Great Britain), Joyce (Irel), Proust (France), Kafka (Austria), Pound (USA), Ibsen (Norway), Strindberg (Sweden), listed some writers who should not have been awarded the Nobel Literature Prize..
There have been occasional mistakes in the nomination, screening finalization of the cidates for the prize awarding due to the academicians limitation in historical background, in perception orientation in knowledge accumulation, resulting in strong resentments. There once were some experts who listed the writers who should have been awarded the Nobel Literature Prize such as Tolstoy (Russia), Gorky (Russia), Hardy (Great Britain), Lawrence (Great Britain), Joyce (Irel), Proust (France), Kafka (Austria), Pound (USA), Ibsen (Norway), Strindberg (Sweden), listed some writers who should not have been awarded the Nobel Literature Prize, one of whom was Pearl Buck (USA) in 1938.
There is no doubt that, in most cases in the past one hundred years, the Nobel Literature Prize was awarded to the writers who have thrown great lasting influences on the world by their writings, resulting in a systematic classification like Rabindranath Tagore, Romain Roll, William Butler Yeats, Thomas Stearns Eliot, William Faulkner, Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, Ernest Miller Hemingway, Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, Michail Aleksrovich Sholokhov, Yasunari Kawabata, Samuel Beckett, Marquez.
There is an unbalance in terms of the nationalities resident areas the laureates of the Nobel Literature Prize, with more laureates scattered in USA Europe. Africa Asia are more densely populated but have a low proportion of the laureates to the whole population. Asia has only seen 4 laureates they are Rabindranath Tagore (India, 1913 awarding), Shmuel Yosef Agnon (Israel, 1966 awarding, co-winner with Swedish Nelly Sachs), Yasunari Kawabata (Japan, 1968 awarding) Kenzaburo Oe (Japan, 1994 awarding). The Nobel Literature Prize history for Africa has only just been rewritten since 1980s, awarding to Wole Soyinka (Nigeria, in 1986), Naguib Mahfouz (Egypt, in 1988) Nadine Gordimer (South Africa, in 1991). There is only one laureate in Oceania, Patrick White (Australia) in 1973. Since 20 years ago, overcoming their limited viewpoints, the Nobel Committees have noticed paid much more attention to such an unbalance. They have tried to keep a balanced prize awarding in terms of the laureates nationalities so far have made a certain achievement to that end. Only from 2001 to 2011, 3 femaile writers have been awarded the prize. John M. Coetzee from Hungary, Elfriede Jelinek from Austria Herta Müller from Germany are all those non-mainstream writers, but they are quite highly appreciated by the Nobel Committee for Literature because of their distinct characters meaningful pieces. Especially the laureate of 2011 – Swedish Poet Tomas Transtr?mer who had only 163 poems published up till now, was highly praised by the whole world considered one of the best contemporary poets. This also shows the unique charming point of the Nobel Literature Prize.
On October 11, 2012, Chinese writer Moyan, who is famous for his pieces such as Red Sorghum Clan, The Republic of Wine, Salwood Death, Life Death Are Wearing Me Out Frog was awarded the 2012 Nobel Literature Prize because he “merges folk tales with hallucinatory realism merges history with the contemporary.” Thus, he became the first Chinese laureate for the award.  


 
Nobel Prize in Literature - UK (2001) First-Day Cover


 

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