Thursday, October 09, 2008

Grapes, anyone?

A bit tense around here today – they’re announcing the Nobel Prize for Literature. Not that I’m over-optimistic: it’s supposed to be about your life’s work and I only started writing after senility set in – or perhaps because senility set in. And there are many who’ve been in the queue longer than me - just look how long Pinter had to wait for his (it takes longer for lefties – Greene never got one at all - he should never have called the hero of Brighton Rock "Pinkie".).
And besides, what chance has anyone got with a bourgeois name like mine?
I'm not holding my breath, but still, I'm cheered after Horace Engdahl’s recent words – he’s permanent secretary of the body that awards the Prize. In fact, I never had a better chance, because he seems to have ruled out American writers this year.
Maybe it’s part of the world trend today, but he's been saying things like “Europe is the center of the literary world,” and that “the U.S. is too isolated, too insular”.
Charles McGrath in the NYT seems to agree. It’s because, he says, “in the United States, a Nobel usually doesn’t produce even [a] modest uptick in sales”. Could he be confusing cause with consequence?
Who wants the Nobel Prize anyway? Beckett thought it was the worst thing that happened to his career; Sartre refused it; Yeats thought it wasn’t generous enough; Steinbeck never wrote a decent thing after it: and Hemingway shot himself.
So keep your capitalist bauble, Mr Engdahl. It wouldn’t exist had it not been for the explosives industry.
Grapes, anyone?

3 comments:

riviera writer said...

Worth £820,000, it was won by French author Le Clezio, from Nice. A mailing error?

Ed R said...

Most likely. Check into it;)
I'd have voted for you, Ted.

riviera writer said...

Thanks Ed, but this is apparently not my year. And since his father was a Brit and a Brit got it last year, possibly not my decade - or century. Nice library obviously wasn't prepared - they ran out of all (30) of his books!