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Thread: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

  1. #41
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

    I have an example that involves personal ethics, not politics. American Tim O'Brien used to be one of my favorite authors. I read most of his books up until the mid-1990s, and I was especially impressed by The Things They Carried and Going After Cacciato. Around that time, I started teaching in Japan and got invited to dinner by a fellow American English professor. When she asked me who my favorite writers were, I noted Tim O'Brien and she immediately responded, "Oh Timmy, Timmy, Timmy!". She had once hosted O'Brien at a university in the States, and she went on to tell me what a creep/lech he was in taking advantage of star-struck undergraduate English majors.

    Several months later, I met my younger brother's girlfriend who had graduated from the writing program at the University of Iowa. I knew this program to be among the best in the States and I was eager to hear who her instructors had been. Tim O'Brien's name came up and when I asked what her impressions were of him, she, too, talked about what a creep he was using his celebrity to take advantage of students. She even described a time where at a formal dinner, O'Brien had shocked her by running his tongue from the top of her back and up her neck.This is an image I can't get out of my mind. I've lost so much respect for O'Brien that I've never read him since.

    I know I'm guilty of putting authors up on a pedestal. I suppose it's because I used to think if a person had the talent and sensitivity to be a great writer, that same understanding would cross over to all areas of their lives. O'Brien and the other authors previously noted illustrate this isn't always the case.

  2. #42
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Peeping Tom View Post
    I almost began reading Mo Yan based on what was being said in this (Nobel Speculation) thread, but never got around to it.
    The same for me. Yesterday though, when I checked my local libraries' catalogues a couple of minutes after the news (all Yo Man books were then available) and then about an hour later all the books were already checked out . It's nice to see such interest. Booksellers are probably arraging their show windows anew, etc. I hope that thanks to this year's Nobel we'll get more of Mo Yan's work translated into Polish, like it happenned with Pamuk's work for example. He wasn't translated at all I think and then one by one his books started appearing.

  3. #43

    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by pesahson View Post
    I hope that thanks to this year's Nobel we'll get more of Mo Yan's work translated into Polish, like it happenned with Pamuk's work for example. He wasn't translated at all I think and then one by one his books started appearing.
    Pamuk's "Snow" was published just few months before he got the Nobel (clearly Wydawnictwo Literackie knew what they were doing). The same happened with Imre Kertesz who in 2001 wasn't even known in Poland but in 2002 (also few months before the announcement that the prize went to him) Wydawnictwo W.A.B. published his "Fateless".
    We had everything of Gunther Grass, Mario Vargas Llosa and Hertha Muller - and that's all if the translations of the whole body of work of the laureates who got the Nobel after Szymborska are considered.
    Let's hope Mo Yan will be published wider in Poland than the last two East Asian Nobel-laureates (we have only one novel of Gao Xingjian ["Soul Mountain"] and only 3 of Kenzaburo Oe).
    But that's true that Nobel helped Kertesz, Jelinek, Coetzee and Pamuk to be translated and published in Poland. Now we have all of their novels (and quite a few of Lessing or Le Clezio but they were clearly not selling as well as the previous four because a lot of their work is still unpublished in Poland and probably won't be published).
    But still - Nobel surely helps its laureates to get attention! Thank God for this award! (And the Swedish Academy as well :P )
    Last edited by Davus; 12-Oct-2012 at 10:16.

  4. #44
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Davus View Post
    We had everything of Gunther Grass, Mario Vargas Llosa and Hertha Muller - and that's all if the translations of the whole body of work of the laureates who got the Nobel after Szymborska are considered.)
    I hope that Czarne publishing house got some financial boost after Muller got the Nobel. They deserve it for the great work they're doing and they were her only Polish publisher (if I'm not mistaken again).

    Quote Originally Posted by Davus View Post
    But still - Nobel surely helps its laureates to get attention! Thank God for this award! (And the Swedish Academy as well :P )
    The post-Nobel frenzy is my favorite aspect too. It's still the only international award that launches relatively unknown authors into people's consciousness.
    Last edited by pesahson; 12-Oct-2012 at 17:02.

  5. #45

    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by pesahson View Post
    I hope that Czarne publishing house got some financial boost after Muller got the Nobel. They deserve it for the great work they're doing and they were her only Polish publisher (if I'm not mistaken again).
    Yes, they were her (almost) only publisher. :P Ha!Art! or Krytyka Polityczna published something of her but I'm not sure if this can be called a "book" in a traditional sense. It was a box (literally) with cards in it (or something like that). I haven't read it or bought it but I saw it in their bookstore in Cracow. :P

  6. #46
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

    Well, that's that then.

  7. #47
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by pesahson View Post
    The same for me. Yesterday though, when I checked my local libraries' catalogues a couple of minutes after the news (all Yo Man books were then available) and then about an hour later all the books were already checked out . It's nice to see such interest. Booksellers are probably arraging their show windows anew, etc. I hope that thanks to this year's Nobel we'll get more of Mo Yan's work translated into Polish, like it happenned with Pamuk's work for example. He wasn't translated at all I think and then one by one his books started appearing.
    This also has a problematic side. Most publishing groups are in a hurry to release new Nobel's laureates works. With such a pressure the translators may be obliged to deliver their work in a short period of time and this can have as a consequence a mediocre translation for the lack of time. In this case is even worse as I don't think there are many good translators directly from Chinese to other languages, and I'm sure it takes longer to translate from Chinese than from any of the other major European languages. So either we'll be having mediocre translations from the Chinese, or re-translations from the English, French or German.

  8. #48
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

    It is a possibility, sure, but I have faith in people . There is so little translation from Chinese published in Polish that I think the translators are dying for more work actually, but it's just my guess.

  9. #49

    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by pesahson View Post
    It is a possibility, sure, but I have faith in people . There is so little translation from Chinese published in Polish that I think the translators are dying for more work actually, but it's just my guess.
    I suppose that all translations will be from English (unfortunately). Actually - I'm reading right now "Big Breasts, Wide Hips" published by W.A.B few years ago and I suppose that this is the translation from English ("suppose" because it is not written outright but there is information in the book about copyrights for the English translation by Howard Goldblatt - and there wouldn't be such information if it was translation from Chinese, would it?). And this might be the problem because M.A. Orthofer wrote yesterday that "One big issue with the English translations is that they tend to have been cut rather drastically" so Polish will be/are cut too. ("Soul Mountain" by Gao was also translated from English, by the way [if I remember correctly]).

  10. #50

    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel del Real View Post
    This also has a problematic side. Most publishing groups are in a hurry to release new Nobel's laureates works. With such a pressure the translators may be obliged to deliver their work in a short period of time and this can have as a consequence a mediocre translation for the lack of time. In this case is even worse as I don't think there are many good translators directly from Chinese to other languages, and I'm sure it takes longer to translate from Chinese than from any of the other major European languages. So either we'll be having mediocre translations from the Chinese, or re-translations from the English, French or German.
    And how does it look like in Mexico or other countries? Do you have all of Mo Yan's books already translated into Spanish (for example)? And how did it look like with other Nobel Prize laureates of the last decade or so?

  11. #51
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

    Both his books have been translated from Chinese by Katarzyna Kulpa.

    http://wab.com.pl/?ECProduct=433

    http://wab.com.pl/?ECProduct=518

  12. #52
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Stevie B View Post
    I have an example that involves personal ethics, not politics. American Tim O'Brien used to be one of my favorite authors. I read most of his books up until the mid-1990s, and I was especially impressed by The Things They Carried and Going After Cacciato. Around that time, I started teaching in Japan and got invited to dinner by a fellow American English professor. When she asked me who my favorite writers were, I noted Tim O'Brien and she immediately responded, "Oh Timmy, Timmy, Timmy!". She had once hosted O'Brien at a university in the States, and she went on to tell me what a creep/lech he was in taking advantage of star-struck undergraduate English majors.

    Several months later, I met my younger brother's girlfriend who had graduated from the writing program at the University of Iowa. I knew this program to be among the best in the States and I was eager to hear who her instructors had been. Tim O'Brien's name came up and when I asked what her impressions were of him, she, too, talked about what a creep he was using his celebrity to take advantage of students. She even described a time where at a formal dinner, O'Brien had shocked her by running his tongue from the top of her back and up her neck.This is an image I can't get out of my mind. I've lost so much respect for O'Brien that I've never read him since.

    I know I'm guilty of putting authors up on a pedestal. I suppose it's because I used to think if a person had the talent and sensitivity to be a great writer, that same understanding would cross over to all areas of their lives. O'Brien and the other authors previously noted illustrate this isn't always the case.
    Yeah, it's a bit of problem isn't it. The more you know, the more likely you are to find something you don't quite like, not always as extreme as your examples perhaps, but something.

  13. #53

    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by pesahson View Post
    Both his books have been translated from Chinese by Katarzyna Kulpa.

    http://wab.com.pl/?ECProduct=433

    http://wab.com.pl/?ECProduct=518
    Nice. But then I don't understand why they write about copyrights of the English translation. :/

  14. #54
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Davus View Post
    And how does it look like in Mexico or other countries? Do you have all of Mo Yan's books already translated into Spanish (for example)? And how did it look like with other Nobel Prize laureates of the last decade or so?
    Here's the overview for translated works on the last 5 laureates:

    J.M.G. Le Clezio: There was two out of print works already translated
    Herta Müller: Same situation, two books, one of short stories and another novel.
    Mario Vargas Llosa: No problem at all
    Tomas Tranströmer: An anthology of his poetry was available (actually I owned that book before the Nobel was granted)
    Mo Yan: A small independent Spanish group has published 6 books by Mo Yan. 5 of them are unfortunately translated from the English and one directly from the Chinese. This is the first time in 5 years that not all of them are direct translations, we even had it from the Swedish which is not that common as the French or German.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012


  16. #56

    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel del Real View Post
    If this award will be too controversial than in a few years Academy might reward another Chinese writer as it did in the past with USRR laureates: few years after they gave award to Pasternak (Gao) they rewarded Sholokhov (Mo) and few years after Sholokhov - they chose Solzhenitsyn (Liao? :P ).

  17. #57
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by Davus View Post
    If this award will be too controversial than in a few years Academy might reward another Chinese writer as it did in the past with USRR laureates: few years after they gave award to Pasternak (Gao) they rewarded Sholokhov (Mo) and few years after Sholokhov - they chose Solzhenitsyn (Liao? :P ).
    LOL, that is a good comparison

  18. #58
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

    Quote Originally Posted by peter_d View Post
    Yeah, let's start speculating about next year already. I think it's going to be an American woman in her mid 60's.
    11-Oct-2012, 14:056
    lol, you got her age wrong...

  19. #59
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

    With this thread revived, I thought I'd let people know a new Mo Yan book, Frog, has just been published in English. I haven't had the chance to read it yet, though from what I've heard about it, the general consensus is that it's a bit overwritten but still one Mo Yan's more important works (I can't find anything now, but I remember seeing that this was one of the books cited by the Swedish academy).

    The description from amazon:

    In his much-anticipated new novel, Mo Yan chronicles the sweeping history of modern China through the lens of the nation’s controversial one- child policy.

    Frog opens with a playwright nicknamed Tadpole who plans to write about his aunt. In her youth, Gugu—the beautiful daughter of a famous doctor and staunch Communist—is revered for her skill as a midwife. But when her lover defects, Gugu’s own loyalty to the Party is questioned. She decides to prove her allegiance by strictly enforcing the one-child policy, keeping tabs on the number of children in the village, and performing abortions on women as many as eight months pregnant.

    In sharply personal prose, Mo Yan depicts a world of desperate families, illegal surrogates, forced abortions, and the guilt of those who must enforce the policy. At once illuminating and devastating, it shines a light into the heart of communist China.



    And the amazon link, for any one who wants it:

    http://www.amazon.com/Frog-Mo-Yan-eb...2283719&sr=1-1

  20. #60
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2012

    Last May an English translation of "Transparent Radish," Mo Yan's first novella and apparently the work that started getting him attention, was published as an ebook special entitled "Radish." I'm surprised it hasn't received more attention, it seems to have flown under virtually everyone's radars, though for now it is just an ebook which might explain it. Here's the link for anyone who wants it. At $3, it's a steal.

    http://www.amazon.com/Radish-Penguin.../dp/B00WYJF92O

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