Thursday, October 9, 2014

Nationality, sex, language: sketch of the Nobel Prize for Literature – The World

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Patrick Modiano adds a Nobel in his “Pedigree”

In analyzing the 111 award winners since 1901 , we can draw a sketch of the Nobel Prize for Literature. The “average” winner would be:

Note that Patrick Modiano, the winner this year, managed to fill four of the five criteria listed above.

The French in the forefront …

This is the fifteenth time that the Nobel Prize for Literature returns to French, which makes the most represented

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The first winner, in 1901, was also awarded the French poet Sully Prudhomme. It was followed by Frédéric Mistral (1904), Romain Rolland (1915), Anatole France (1921), Henri Bergson (1927), Roger Martin du Gard (1937), Andre Gide (1947), Francois Mauriac (1952), Albert Camus (1957), Saint John Perse (1960), Jean-Paul Sartre (1964), Claude Simon (1985), Gao Xingjian (2000) Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio (2008) and finally Patrick Modiano (2014).

… but the Anglo-Saxon remains dominant

But if France can claim to occupy first place in the prestigious list, it does not mean that French is the dominant language. Indeed, it is English that is most represented, through the works of British authors, American, Canadian, Australian, Irish … In addition, the French Frédéric Mistral was rewarded for his writing poetry. Provencal ..

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Europe overrepresented

Established in the early twentieth th century, at a time when Europe was dominant in the world, the Nobel Prize in literature is very Eurocentric. Rabindranath Tagore was the first non-European winner in 1913 and it took until 1930 for an American (Sinclair Lewis) is winning. Via the play of dual nationality, Europe remains the largest supplier of Nobel literature to date.

Literary genres less diverse

If the geographical origin of winners diversified over the years can not be said of literary genres rewarded. If one relies on the classification made on the site of the Nobel, works of theater, philosophy and poetry were further highlighted by juries before the 1950s.

The Academy identifies three Nobel philosophers Rudolf Christoph Eucken German (1908), the French Henri Bergson (1927) and the British Bertrand Russell (1950), although several authors have mixed philosophy and literature in their work, such as Albert Camus French (1957) and Jean-Paul Sartre (1964).

A historian Theodor Mommsen German won the Nobel in 1902, and a head of state, Britain’s Winston Churchill in 1953.

In 2013, Canadian Alice Munro was the first to be awarded for a work composed primarily of news and short stories.

Women still lag

The winners of this year does not push the traditional male dominance in the Nobel Prize for Literature, which has been awarded since 1901 only thirteen women However, there was a slight rebound of winners since 1990

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