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Thread: Forgotten Nobel Laureates

  1. #21
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    Default Re: Forgotten Nobel Laureates

    Guess I was wrong about Lewis. I have Arrowsmith sitting around somewhere, along with a biography of him. Wonder if those will change my mind about him. Main Street honestly convinced me he deserves to be forgotten...

    For El Senor Presidente, in English translation at least, Asturias comes across as quite a wordsmith. His descriptions are amazing, but pretty much every other element in the novel is decidedly mediocre. I've wanted to read Men of Maize for a while, but El Senor Presidente kinda halted my enthusiasm there.

  2. #22

    Default Re: Forgotten Nobel Laureates

    If I recall correctly, Presidente is not translated well into English. The translator was in the Bloomsbury Group, and it's an unfortunate effort.

    It's behind a paywall now, but funny enough, Guillermo Cabrera Infante rips Asturias apart, saying something like, "If that were writing, surely I could do better."

  3. #23

    Default Re: Forgotten Nobel Laureates

    I listened to a panel discussion on forgotten Nobel laureates on Swedish Radio the week before the Nobel announcement. Both Lewis and Buck were mentioned and also the poetry of Johannes V. Jensen and Salvatore Quasimodo. What do you who have read them think of them?

  4. #24
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    Default Re: Forgotten Nobel Laureates

    Quote Originally Posted by Isahoinp View Post
    I haven't read anything by Asturias yet, but the impression I've gotten is that he's more well known for his later works, which are based around indigenous cultures and influences. He was part of a group of latino authors pioneering works regarding indigenous American cultures in this period. El Seņor Presidente is one of his earlier works and falls outside of that category. Even looking at this book though, isn't this just an earlier predecessor to the the flood of Latin Boom works about dictators and politicians that would follow? In this sense, perhaps he was an influence on these later writers.
    The thing with the bloom is that is not like a movement, with central figuere and ideas, but rather an arbitrary grouping of a heterogenous group of writers from different generations, countries and cultures that just happen to be latin american and write in spanish. Because of this, anyone writting before the 60's when the boom happened is a precussor, even if this really means nothing since the main trigger for the boom still the reckongntion of Borges's prose in Europe (and a bit behind, Neruda's poetry). So, yeah, Austurias is a precussor (to the magic realism too), but since the figure of Borges is so dominating and Borges was never a big fan of Asturias, he does not get advantage of this to be more published.

  5. #25
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    Default Re: Forgotten Nobel Laureates

    Quote Originally Posted by Marba View Post
    ...and also the poetry of Johannes V. Jensen and Salvatore Quasimodo. What do you who have read them think of them?
    Haven't read either, though Jensen's prose works have intrigued me for a while (just hard to get). But I did find this on wikipedia:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fa...itical_acclaim

    Apparently he's not so forgotten in Denmark.

  6. #26
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    Default Re: Forgotten Nobel Laureates

    One of Jensen's novels was voted the best Danish novel. But abroad at least, he isn't widely remembered. This one novel is available in a recent translation. He has this large novel series that traces life from the dinosaurs to present (or something along those lines) that has long been out of print in the US. It sounds intriguing but I'm guessing it reads like a dated Journey to the Center of the Earth.

    Lewis' Main Street was a 3/5 to me, so I pretty much agree. Babbitt, when viewed as part of the period it was written, was a lot better, and mostly still held relavency to me as a satire on rich people's political beliefs.

  7. #27
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    Default Re: Forgotten Nobel Laureates

    Quote Originally Posted by Isahoinp View Post
    Since the 2016 election It Can't Happen Here has been widely reprinted and at most bookstores I've been to there's big piles of it near the front of the store.
    Same in Portugal.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cleanthess View Post
    And for prospective writers of du Gard's Les Thibault, beware. Les Thibault is the book I've hated reading the most in my whole life (and I've read a book by Rush Limbaugh...).
    I really went out of my way to get the complete (3 vols.) Portuguese translation of that, but I'd say it's near the bottom of the "to read" pile right now, in the same "not a priority and maybe not even looking forward to finally reading" as The Forsyte Saga.

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