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Thread: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 Speculation

  1. #61
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Septularisen View Post
    I don't understand exactly what you mean by "lightweight" regarding Mr. Haruki MURAKAMI, but I can guarantee you that : If not this year, this writer will be award the Nobel until the next five year!...
    Why do I say he's lightweight? Because he recycles themes, tropes and entire structures shamelessly and unoriginally (pretty much every Murakami novel has a late 30-something man who likes whiskey and jazz as protagonist who feels kinda lost and alienated in the modern world, weird things happening to him, a disappearing woman and a cat), and his writing is pedestrian. His use of the Japanese language is nothing compared to say, Mishima (gaudy, ornate words that are nevertheless stunningly precise and evocative) or Ōe (incredible, Japanese-French hybrid syntax that displaces the reader as much as the setting, usually the margins of Japan).

    I don't hate Murakami. I quite liked Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, for example. But he just doesn't deserve the Nobel.

  2. #62

    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 Speculation

    I'm not sure I have really read enough Murakami to properly comment - but put it this way, if the majority of his works were on the same level as The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, then yes, absolutely for the Nobel. If they're mostly like Norwegian Wood, not so much. I understand from talking to the other people that it tends towards the latter.

  3. #63
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by nagisa View Post
    His use of the Japanese language is nothing compared to say, Mishima (gaudy, ornate words that are nevertheless stunningly precise and evocative) or Ōe (incredible, Japanese-French hybrid syntax that displaces the reader as much as the setting, usually the margins of Japan).
    Nagisa could you please quote a couple of sentences of Oe that you particularly liked which display his hybrid syntax? A certain blogger (cough Caravana de Recuerdos cough) recently quoted Cesar Aira's comment about how book reviews usually focus on the plot of the novel (the what) rather than on the how the writer does his magic (his style), and seeing Oe's syntax at work must be a treat! And don't worry about kanji being difficult to read, that's what Rikai-chan was invented for.
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by nagisa View Post
    Why do I say he's lightweight? Because he recycles themes, tropes and entire structures shamelessly and unoriginally (pretty much every Murakami novel has a late 30-something man who likes whiskey and jazz as protagonist who feels kinda lost and alienated in the modern world, weird things happening to him, a disappearing woman and a cat), and his writing is pedestrian. His use of the Japanese language is nothing compared to say, Mishima (gaudy, ornate words that are nevertheless stunningly precise and evocative) or Ōe (incredible, Japanese-French hybrid syntax that displaces the reader as much as the setting, usually the margins of Japan).

    I don't hate Murakami. I quite liked Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, for example. But he just doesn't deserve the Nobel.
    It is difficult to say something about Mr. Yukio Mishima since it has long been a favorite for the Nobel Prize, and probably would have the prize, if...
    It is even more difficult to compare the works of two other ... Their works are different ...
    Mr. Kenzaburo OE is a writer of the tradition, it is typically Japanese, he his the representant from that the Japanese people call jun-bungaku, post-war "pure literature" ...
    Mr. Haruki Murakami is the representative of Taishu-bungaku "popular literature" by the universality of his work, his imagination "Americanized" his modernism, his novels embody a stateless literature, translated into more than fifteen languages ​​is adored by Italians, Koreans, Chinese, Americans ...
    He is now a writer who has a great success in his country, he sold a million copies of his book 1Q84 in... two weeks! ...

    I have read the two... The two are great writer... but now that's MURAKAMI turn to be awarded!...

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Septularisen View Post
    Mr. Haruki Murakami is the representative of Taishu-bungaku "popular literature" by the universality of his work
    Which is exactly why he should not and will not win. 'Taishu-bungaku' is just that: popular literature. Although it used to describe a type of literature related to period-fiction, or even class struggles, obviously Murakami's politically vacuous novels do not fit the bill here. EL James is a great success globally - maybe she deserves the prize based on that too? Let's not conflate universality with banality here. Now, Murakami is a good writer and fairly enjoyable, [although IQ84 was a mess and I have a feeling his latest book will be disappointing too], but he is nothing compared to Ōe, Kawabata, Nakagami, or many other potential laureates from other parts of the world; it would be like the literary equivalent of giving Obama the peace prize, a pandering to the masses. Because that at the end of the day is the big allure of 'stateless' Murakami: he's an exotic author, but just the right amount of minimum 'Other' to satisfy the Western world. Different, but only in a penned kind of way like an animal at a zoo. His writings are curiously interesting enough, but always fail to hit any form serious 'ideal'.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 Speculation

    When it comes to American poets in the context of Nobel Prize conversations, most people automatically bring up Ashbery, and while I can understand that, personally, I think that W.S. Merwin is just as worthy, if not more, but, for some reason, his name is not brought up very much. He is certainly one of the most, if not the most, decorated living American poets. I am also quite fond of Philip Levine and Yusef Komunyakaa. I wonder if Robert Penn Warren ever received serious consideration by the committee for the Nobel.
    Last edited by Hrabal78; 04-Aug-2014 at 20:26.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Septularisen View Post
    Ok I understand better now.
    What about Claribel ALEGRIA?
    Of course I have heard her name, but frankly I've never read a single verse by her. She's 90 years old!

    Quote Originally Posted by nagisa View Post
    His use of the Japanese language is nothing compared to say, Mishima (gaudy, ornate words that are nevertheless stunningly precise and evocative) or Ōe (incredible, Japanese-French hybrid syntax that displaces the reader as much as the setting, usually the margins of Japan).
    I cannot read in Japanese by any chance (I wish) but I've heard from people who do that Mishima was a terrible writer, that his prose wasn't very well structured and that despite that, he was able to be very evocative as you say.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Septularisen View Post
    Mr. Haruki Murakami is the representative of Taishu-bungaku "popular literature" by the universality of his work, his imagination "Americanized" his modernism, his novels embody a stateless literature, translated into more than fifteen languages ​​is adored by Italians, Koreans, Chinese, Americans ...
    He is now a writer who has a great success in his country, he sold a million copies of his book 1Q84 in... two weeks! ...
    Popularity ≠ quality. 純文学 jun-bungaku and 大衆文学 taishū-bungaku aren't "genres" that authors get to represent, they're simply categories, what we'd call "serious literature" and "pop literature" (with all the heated debate around the validity of said categories). And it says something that Murakami is categorized as pop lit: it's soulless, vacuous, and marketable. Murakami's measure of talent gives his work redeeming qualities (like I said, I enjoyed Hard-Boiled Wonderland and I'm curious about Kafka on the Shore), but for me he is simply not Nobel quality. And you're terribly mistaken if you feel that Ōe is "typically Japanese"; one of the most common attacks leveled against him is that he is not Japanese enough, both in his political positions and his writing (the Okinawa Notes affair being the most salient example of this).

    @Cleanthess : I'm not sure I could find one sentence to represent that effect (it takes building up in paragraphs), plus I'd have to add a lecture on why the sentence is so peculiar grammatically in Japanese... Put shortly, Ōe likes to set up long sentences with quite a few subordinate clauses, stringing along subjects of the sentence; which is quite non-Japanese since "typically" in Japanese there is a more-or-less clearly defined subject in a more-or-less short sentence with the verb ending it (revealing the action of the subject and its modes). The effect of the sentences' length is that information needs to be segmented and sorted to go with their proper clauses, even though Japanese has entirely different (and rather "poorer") tools to do so compared to Western punctuation (no semi-colon, colon, en-dash, precious few parentheses); but Ōe manages to do this with the tools at his disposal with great effect.

    I found a rather nice example in 後退青年研究所 (The Research Institute for Retreating Young Men), in the collection 見るまえに跳べ (Leap Before You Look). It's the first sentence.

    暗黒な深淵がこの現実世界のそこかしこにひらいて沈黙をたたえており、現実世界はそのところどころの深淵に むかって漏斗状に傾斜しているので、この傾斜に敏感なものたちは、知らず知らずのうちにか、あるいは意識し てこの傾斜をすべりおち、深淵の暗黒の沈黙ななかへ入りこんでゆく、そして現実世界における地獄を体験する わけである。

    Dark abysses gape everywhere in this real world and overflow with silence; and because this real world slopes funnel-like towards these abysses here and there, sensitive beings, unwittingly or consciously, slide along these slopes, going deeper into the silent heart of the dark abyss, and experience the hell that goes on in the real world.

    Note the subject switching from "dark abyss" to "real world" to "sensitive beings", with "abyss" and "real world" becoming counterpoint to the subject when it switches. Ōe (in the original at least, translations I've looked at in French mangle the Japanese syntax) is chock-full of effects such as these, weaving the prose back on itself. This is not a problem in Japanese, but can sound repetitious in translation unless it's handled well (I hope my modest effort doesn't render too badly).

    Cleanthess, thank you for suggesting Rikaichan; I actually use it from time to time when reading things online, though I prefer my app-dictionary (Daijirin) when I read on paper

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel del Real View Post
    I cannot read in Japanese by any chance (I wish) but I've heard from people who do that Mishima was a terrible writer, that his prose wasn't very well structured and that despite that, he was able to be very evocative as you say.
    It's not entirely true, but yes, Mishima can be a bit unstructured. However, Japanese syntax is very flexible (kinda like German, where as long as your grammatical markers are in their proper place you can do most anything with word order); accommodating (or even enhancing!) lack of structure.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 Speculation

    Speaking of popular Japanese literature, have any of you read anything by Nobuko Takagi 高樹 のぶ子? I loved Mai Mai Miracle, and she has won both the Tanizaki and the Akutagawa prizes.

    To be honest, I have read very little recent Japanese fiction, mostly by the likes of Yoko Ogawa, Hiromi Kawakami, the Murakamis and Banana Yoshimoto, the same as everybody else. I enjoyed Genichiro Takahashi's Sayonara Gangsters and the titles of his other books sound very enticing: Goodbye, Christopher Robin or Miyazawa Kenji's Greatest Hits or A Nuclear Reactor in Love or The Cat Who Read James Joyce or John Lennon vs the Martians or As I Was Saying the Word Zebra or Against Literary Cafes or I Wonder If It's Okay To Know This Much About Literature: let's hope they get translated someday.
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  11. #71

    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Ferreira Gullar is really average, there is like 30 years since he does not publish anything worth of note and even when he did he was considerable minor compared to the good poets of his time. But or Suassuna had/have no chance to win the nobels. Nothing to do with being filled with brazilian elements or something like this. Being the simple fact the Nobel is just self-promoting prize. Sometimes they must find a great writer or they would be ridiculous. It is the nobel, not Rosa or Suassuna, that are souless.
    Oh God, don't get me wrong, I never acused Suassuna or Rosa of being soulless. What I said that was soulless was a translation of one of Rosa's short stories, the problem was the incompetence of the translator.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 Speculation

    For my part, I'm struggling just to get through the Japanese classics (Kawabata, Mishima, Ōe, Tanizaki, Akutagawa, Nakagami, Endō, Dazai, Ōoka...); and given that I read two to three times slower in Japanese than in my native tongues, and that I have so much more to read than Japanese authors, I rarely get the time to give proper attention to recent authors. I keep an eye on the Naoki and Akutagawa laureates, as well as the Ōe laureates, but more of a distracted eye than anything...

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by nagisa View Post
    Popularity ≠ quality. 純文学 jun-bungaku and 大衆文学 taishū-bungaku aren't "genres" that authors get to represent, they're simply categories, what we'd call "serious literature" and "pop literature" (with all the heated debate around the validity of said categories). And it says something that Murakami is categorized as pop lit: it's soulless, vacuous, and marketable. Murakami's measure of talent gives his work redeeming qualities (like I said, I enjoyed Hard-Boiled Wonderland and I'm curious about Kafka on the Shore), but for me he is simply not Nobel quality. And you're terribly mistaken if you feel that Ōe is "typically Japanese"; one of the most common attacks leveled against him is that he is not Japanese enough, both in his political positions and his writing (the Okinawa Notes affair being the most salient example of this)
    Totally agree with you here.
    I read almost all the work of M. MURAKAMI, I can assure you that it is of high quality and originality unparalleled.
    This work must and will one day be rewarded by the Nobel ... maybe not this year, because its author is still young, but certainly in the next five years! ...

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel del Real View Post
    Of course I have heard her name, but frankly I've never read a single verse by her. She's 90 years old!
    Ok.
    I don't ask you nothing about Mrs. Elena PONIATOWSKA (she's 82 years old...) I know your "problem" with this author, despite the recent 2013 Premio Miguel de Cervantes.
    So, can you tell me one female writer in south America as serious candidate for receive the Nobel ?

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by spacepirate View Post
    Which is exactly why he should not and will not win. 'Taishu-bungaku' is just that: popular literature. Although it used to describe a type of literature related to period-fiction, or even class struggles, obviously Murakami's politically vacuous novels do not fit the bill here. EL James is a great success globally - maybe she deserves the prize based on that too? Let's not conflate universality with banality here. Now, Murakami is a good writer and fairly enjoyable, [although IQ84 was a mess and I have a feeling his latest book will be disappointing too], but he is nothing compared to Ōe, Kawabata, Nakagami, or many other potential laureates from other parts of the world; it would be like the literary equivalent of giving Obama the peace prize, a pandering to the masses. Because that at the end of the day is the big allure of 'stateless' Murakami: he's an exotic author, but just the right amount of minimum 'Other' to satisfy the Western world. Different, but only in a penned kind of way like an animal at a zoo. His writings are curiously interesting enough, but always fail to hit any form serious 'ideal'.

    I love the expression "pandering to the masses"!...
    But... If I continue with your reflexion, and only for the past few years, writers like Mario VARGAS-LLOSA, Mo YAN, Tomas TRANSTRÖMER, Doris LESSING should never have received the Nobel prize!...
    The Nobel is not just an award for "some people", "some reason", it should also serve to raise awareness of the great writers already universally recognized in their own country, but too little known outside their borders ...
    The Nobel Prize to Mrs. Herta Müller is a very good example here! ...

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Septularisen View Post
    Totally agree with you here.
    I read almost all the work of M. MURAKAMI, I can assure you that it is of high quality and originality unparalleled.
    This work must and will one day be rewarded by the Nobel ... maybe not this year, because its author is still young, but certainly in the next five years! ...
    I've read quite a bit of Murakami as well (in Japanese), and I can assure you, as I said at length before, it is not that high quality and the bits that were original (in say 羊をめぐる冒険 A Wild Sheep's Chase) have long since been recycled endlessly and tiresomely in his later novels. Quite a few Japanese literary critics are baffled at the world literati's Murakami-mania. (And then there's the issue that his translations from English all uniformly smack of his own lackluster style.) If Murakami does get the Nobel, it will be a very weak year indeed and will be remembered with the same scorn as Pearl Buck.

    The difference between Murakami and the Nobel-winning authors you cite who "pandered to the masses" is that.... they didn't pander (no, not even Mo Yan). Why on earth would you think these outstanding authors "pander"? They were and are popular because of the qualities of their work, not because they were self-consciously pandering. If you can't see the difference, I'm afraid it's beyond me to explain.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Septularisen View Post

    So, can you tell me one female writer in south America as serious candidate for receive the Nobel ?
    Sorry to butt in, but maybe I can suggest Nelida Piñon?
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Septularisen View Post
    Mr. Haruki Murakami is the representative of Taishu-bungaku "popular literature" by the universality of his work, his imagination "Americanized" his modernism, his novels embody a stateless literature, translated into more than fifteen languages ​​is adored by Italians, Koreans, Chinese, Americans ... He is now a writer who has a great success in his country, he sold a million copies of his book 1Q84 in... two weeks! ...


    Quote Originally Posted by Septularisen View Post
    The Nobel is not just an award for "some people", "some reason", it should also serve to raise awareness of the great writers already universally recognized in their own country, but too little known outside their borders ...
    Why contradict yourself utterly here? By your logic does Murakami deserves the Nobel because he is universally popular ... or because he is too unknown outside of Japan? As it stands, like I said and will repeat again, popularity does not equal universality. The writings of Lessing and Tranströmer are able to affect on a global level - Murakami, though much more widely read, does nothing to prove himself worthy of Nobel's original 'outstanding work in an ideal direction.' Unless, of course, that direction includes talking cats and American Jazz.

    I am not a fervent hater by any means, enjoying somewhat the books I have already read, but any serious arguments related to his win is laughable when you take into account the countless other more deserved writers who have not received it yet.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by Septularisen View Post
    The Nobel is not just an award for "some people", "some reason", it should also serve to raise awareness of the great writers already universally recognized in their own country, but too little known outside their borders ...The Nobel Prize to Mrs. Herta Müller is a very good example here! ...
    Completely agree with this. Honestly, I was not really aware of Herta Muller until she won the Nobel, and I have read quite a bit of lit out of eastern Europe. I am glad that I was acquainted with her works because I think they are fantastic. That being said, I do think there are "popular" writers that, if they won the Nobel, I would not be disappointed, i.e. Roth, Rushdie.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 Speculation

    Quote Originally Posted by lhsl View Post
    Oh God, don't get me wrong, I never acused Suassuna or Rosa of being soulless. What I said that was soulless was a translation of one of Rosa's short stories, the problem was the incompetence of the translator.
    Chil man

    Murakami: I simply give up reading his novels. I may try his short stories, but Norwegian Wood, My Darling Sputnik, Kafka on the Shore (which are those I tried) disapointed me a lot. At first I tried to put the blame on the translator, so I tried one after another. But even in the portuguese translation you end with a taste of dissolving candy in the mouth while reading Kawabata, no translation was able to make Soseki's Kokoro be less pointgnaint or Tanizaki's Matrioska Sisters be less engaging.

    I felt the characters of murakami to be empty bags, swallow. Kafka on the shore was a little more interesting, but the praise as a kind of magic realism is off the mark. It worked more like Stephen King or at best, Neil Gaiman. Even the flaw of those two: the last half of the book was quite inferior than the premisse of the book. Some interesting fantasy there and there, but nothing to promote me to try further. Maybe his short stories, but even so, it is clear he is "adapted" to the international market. Not a complete hack, but certainly a best-seller formula author.

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