Nobel prizes, literature, ideology, prejudice


Declassified documents of the Swedish Academy for Nobel nominations, show that the quality of ones work is not the sole criterion on which its members decide. During the analysis of the candidates for the year 1962, it is revealed that Graves was rejected (as Schueler revealed) because even though he had written several historical novels, he was still primarily seen as a poet.  Blixen, author of Out of Africa, rendered herself ineligible by dying that September, and it was decided that “Durrell was not to be given preference this year” – probably because “they did not think that The Alexandria Quartet was enough, so they decided to keep him under observation for the future”. Also a candidate in 1961, Durrell had in the previous year been ruled out because he “gives a dubious aftertaste . because of [his] monomaniacal preoccupation with erotic complications”. Committee member Henry Olsson was also reluctant to award any Anglo-Saxon poet the prize before the death of Ezra Pound, believing that other writers did not match up to his mastery; but without wanting to give the prize to Pound since he dismissed him in response to his political stance (something which is just funny for Sweden, which cooperated excellently with Hitler for so many years…). It is not clear why Anouilh was passed over, but the French poet Saint-John Perse had taken the Nobel in 1960, meaning that France was well represented on the roster of winners.

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Looks more like an episode from Dynasty huh?

Literature. Naples, Italy. 8th April 1957. American author and writer John Steinbeck.

Art is and should be a window to the soul (ars gratia animae). Not a place for political or personal disputes. And if an artist is better than the other, he should be awarded the first prize. His political thoughts have nothing to do with that. Artists were and still are people in the margin of society. Political correctness has no place in their world. And maybe that is why perhaps the best artists are those who deny any prizes at all (or those who do not hunt those prizes).

Not because they do “art for art”. But just because they do NOT CARE at all for what they do. They just do it.

And whetever comes directly from the soul is more likely to be true.

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