Nobel Prize for European Literature

I just got a call from a local paper about Nobel Prize. I said: “As a world prize, it has lost all credibility. As a European prize, it might still be well regarded. I can’t believe that the best literature of the world in the last ten years is European. Why not consider the writers from Africa, Asia, US and Latin America? Why cast all light in Europe?”

The reporter was ironic enough to ask me if I had read any of the works by the woman writer just awarded the Nobel. I said “no”. I am not the one set up as judge of European literature. I wonder if any of the jurors of the Nobel have read a Central American writer (male or female) in the past ten years.

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7 Responses

  1. Manolo dice:

    How you dare, dear Native Informant, to presume that ducks shoot at riffles? What is this “I haven’t read them, but they haven’t read us either” attitude? In that regard, has the Nobel EVER been a global prize? What about all the untranslated works (including from Central America)?
    Let’s boycott European literature! (Could I get away with still reading Rushdie b/c he is Indian even though he resides in the UK?)

  2. Ronald dice:

    I know, sometimes I am just a jackass. It’s like “I am not devoted to European literature, there are other literatures which interest me as well or even more”. Like the Latinos and Latinas, por ejemplo.
    I don’t think it was ever a “global prize” but those who award it have this attitute or pretension.
    No boycott. But just like “get real, dudes, you award your own”. Their attitude is so yesterday. It’s like “We are the World” and really they’re not.
    Yeah, I dig Rushdie, among a whole lot. Writing is so diverse, why settle for one version, right?

  3. Ever since the fall of Stalinism in Eastern Europe the Nobel Prize people have strived to reward their own. Once in a while they may make a small consession, such as awarding an English-speaking Caribbean writer; but basically, they´ll stick wholeheartedly to the home strain. Is this ethnocentrism on their behalf? Or is Europena literature the summit of contemporary literary achievement? Though there may be enough argumentation to sustain both views, it sholud be clear to all present-day Latin American writers that we are no longer (assuming that we once were) of any particular cultural interest to them. Not only are we being ignored, we are also not being transalted, something that hinders further any attempt of being noticeable to their stout new “nationalism”. For it is true that now, more than ever, Europe sees itself as one singular political entity. And though it may not be all that congenial to the French or the Germans, they also see English as the language to write in.

    All, in all, another day in this freky paradise called literature.

  4. Note. By “freky” I meant “freaky”.

  5. Ronald dice:

    Alexánder, as you write, awarding non-European (of origin) seems nothing more than a gesture. We might not be of any particular interest when we express ourselves, but we might be when serving as an object of reflexion or as extras in their exotic journeys. So which one is the provincial literature now? I’m no longer certain… Thanks for the comments!

  6. Juan Murillo dice:

    Awarding prizes to writers is a task i don´t envy. Perhpas they should split it like the do with the ones in Medicine or Physics, and even then there´d always be unsatisfaction. But as you correctly point out, we should never forget this is a Swedish award.

  7. E. Cárdenas dice:

    Para leer prejuicios y racismo mejor leen Prensa Libre y el resto de ediciones online de los diarios de Guatemala y ya, los jueces.

    Una buena analogía es el futbol, creer que un latinoamericano merezca el premio Nobel nos reduce a Brazil o a Argentina. En el caso de Guatemala, jamas irian al mundial.

    Pero bueno, yo si he leido casi en su totalidad las obras escritas en Guatemala (que han sido publicadas) de los ultimos siglos y a pesar de que en general mantengo una posicion ideologica no eurocentrica (ni ladino centrica ni hispano-centrica como la de los presentes) y ya no me sorprende que puedo venir anio con anio a leer acá esta inconformidad con los jueces al conocer la decision del jurado (del Nobel de Literatura).

    Realmente yo quisiera haber escrito algo totalmente distinto, pero como no, creo que les podria gustar esto:

    Animo Chapines!
    Vamos Guatemala!
    Centroamerica, tan pequenia pero tan grande!

    Buen dia.

    Quizas solo tengan que aplicar un poquito de mercadeo. En muchos paises ya conocen el Pollo Campero, quien quita que un dia se sienten ahi a leer Literatura Nacional (folklorista, clasista, escrita en castellano en esta tierra tan bella, etc.).