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Thread: Nobel Prize 1965

  1. #1
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    Default Nobel Prize 1965

    http://www.complete-review.com/saloo...01601a.htm#ue4

    The year the prize went to Mikhail Sholokhov, a Soviet state writer who's mostly been forgotten in English areas. I had a history professor who studied the Soviet Union that had never heard of him. In 1964 it was between Sartre and Sholokhov, and I remember reading that the small committee in charge opted for Sartre only because they thought he might be a little easier to push through the wider academy, so no surprises that the next year they went for the other one. No official shortlist yet, but some of the other candidates they considered (they were gunning for a split prize this year): Anna Akhmatova (to be split with Sholokhov), Miguel Angel Asturias and Borges, and Samuel Joseph Agnon and Nelly Sachs. The last pair would win it together just the next year, and it would go to Asturias after that.

    Borges is considered one of the worst snubs in Nobel history, and I wonder if this is the real reason why: the academy wanted to split the prize between him and Asturias, but once Sachs and Agnon won they didn't want to do another split prize so soon and Asturias for whatever reason got preference, meaning they fulfilled their Latin America quota and wouldn't return there for some time, ala Kawabata and Mishima. But Asturias is a great writer in his own right, even when compared to the almost impossible to match Borges.

    (As a side note, it had been bandied about that Mishima was nominated for the Nobel 3 times, but this is his 3rd nomination with a few more years to go before his suicide. I thought it was amazing such a young writer would garner so many nominations, and here he is with even more than the suspected number. Also, it'll be interesting to see which other Japanese writers are nominated in the coming years: Kobo Abe had just published Woman in the Dunes and A Face of Another, with his award-winning play Friends coming, and Oe had just published A Personal Matter with The Silent Cry up next; both of them I could see getting nominations are similarly young--or younger--ages.)

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize 1965

    Quote Originally Posted by redheadshadz View Post
    I had a history professor who studied the Soviet Union that had never heard of him.
    Makes me question the credentials of the said professor. Sholokhov was one of the most popular writers in Soviet Russia. That being said, Akhmatova beats him on every count, but she was a poet not a novelist.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize 1965

    I was really surprised because she's a genius when it comes to other history stuff. But I just double checked her college page. Although they had her teaching the Soviet Union survey class, her specialty was more on minorities within Russia and Eastern Europe and the various migrations prior to the Soviet Union. Guess it just didn't come up within her subfield.

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize 1965

    Makes sense. Also, some historians can't be bothered with literature. A good friend of mine specializing in medieval history betrays a surprising lack of interest in the literature of the period, and hates poetry, .

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize 1965

    That's too bad. I've always been interested in history and the medieval ages, but after a class on Tolkien and his many influences those poems are probably my favorite thing about the time period.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Nobel Prize 1965

    An article popped up in The Guardian today about the short list.

    http://www.theguardian.com/books/201...P=share_btn_tw

    It seems to have included Auden, Neruda, Borges, and Nabokov. Three of those figures are well-known for never having received the prize. Two of them are considered great misses of the Academy, and one of them is considered by many to be the greatest misstep.

    I had no idea that Sholokov was such a controversial selection. Doesn't change the fact that I would quite like to read his works this year. And Quiet Flows the River Don is definitely on my list of things to read, though maybe not near the top. It is surprising to think that I have only ever seen two of his novels in English, and both have been in old editions - the Don and Virgin Soil Upturned. I wonder why this writer seems to have been ignored by English readers...

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize 1965

    The most notable thing in the link is in the commentaries, when someone speculate Borges support to Pinochet counted against him, another user just replies "Borges was right to support Pinochet against Stalisnist Allende Hordes"...

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    Default Re: Nobel Prize 1965

    They finally updated the Nobel website to show the real short list: http://www.nobelprize.org/nomination...ture/1965.html

    So, Sholokhov, Agnon, Sachs, Borges, Akhmatova, and Asturias were the official list of suggestions, and, perhaps because of the Steinbeck problem a few years prior, they put Auden back on to the short list just in case.

    Also, does anyone know how the short list works? I've heard of years where it sounds like from the shortlist, after the first reconvening after summer, it sounds like out of the 5 or 6 they pick 2 or 3 to really focus on and debate that year, and other years where it sounds like the whole short list is up for contention when it comes to voting. Does it just depend on the year and which candidates are on the short list or what?

  9. #9

    Default Re: Nobel Prize 1965

    I have no idea about how the short list works, but I am curious about this "Steinbeck problem" that had something to do with Auden...?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize 1965

    When Steinbeck won, it was as a compromise choice. They were not big on any of the short listed authors and ultimately chose Steinbeck as the best of a bad lot. Just wondering if they put Auden, who it seems was not on 1965's original short list, on the final cut in order to avoid the possibility of something similar.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Nobel Prize 1965

    This is interesting:

    The Nobel Committee for Literature this year wanted to draw attention to the possibility of dividing the prize into two parts. The proposals were that the 1965 Literature Prize should be shared between either

    • Russian poet Anna Akhmatova and Michail Sholokhov; motivated by their writing in the same language,
    Miguel Angel Asturias and Jorge Luis Borges; motivated by their writing in the same language, or
    • Shmuel Joseph Agnon and Nelly Sachs, both representing the fate of the Jewish people.
    This proposal had to wait one more year for the latest option. I would've preferred Asturias and Borges of course.

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