Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Nobel Prizes: A List of Greats

If you are following the Nobel Prize excitement, you may know that they have finally set the date for the literature announcement... and it's tomorrow!  Thursday, October 6 will welcome a new author to join the ranks of the Nobel legends of the past.  Part of the reason I find this exciting is because I'm really not very good at keeping up with contemporary literature.  It's easy to concentrate on the beloved literature of past eras, and I find it difficult to wade through the plethora of books that are being published today.  Yet I do believe that contemporary literature can be just as brilliant and valuable as that of the past, though it is more difficult to identify.  Time is quite helpful in highlighting great work of the past and gives us a clue as to what we should read.  Nevertheless, I think it is so important to keep our eyes open for today's generation of remarkable authors. 

So when the Nobel panel announces a contemporary author worthy of this prize, I will pay attention and add him or her to my list of authors to read.  They seem to have remarkable foresight, as many of their winners in the past are tightly bound in the tome of Classic Literature.  About a year ago, I did a short series on Contemporary Literature that I think will or should be recognized as great literature for years to come.  The series has turned out to be very popular, and I am planning to continue the series in November with a few new ones.  The only way I've found any of these contemporary authors it through suggestions of friends, so I want to return the favor in the blogosphere.  In the meantime, I would be very excited if Cormac McCarthy or Salman Rushdie were announced tomorrow, but I'm not holding my breath. 

Before we add a new member to the select Nobel Laureates, let's take one more day to reflect on those of the past.  Initially, I intended to discuss Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Samuel Beckett, two past winners I've never mentioned, as part of the series.  However, when I was looking over their material, I realized that I will need to completely reread their work before I can adequately discuss it.  And since I have a lot planned for October already, this will have to wait.  But stay tuned...

Anyway, if you have Nobel Prize fever, here are links to past winners I've previously discussed:

Seamus Heaney (1995) - Poetry in general; it was actually a blog hop

William Golding (1983) - Lord of the Flies

Alexander Solzhenitzyn (1970) - One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

John Steinbeck  (1962) - East of Eden

William Faulkner (1949) - As I Lay Dying

T.S. Eliot (1948) - The Waste Land

Although he didn't win it for literature, Elie Wiesel won the Nobel Prize in 1986 and I have actually discussed two of his works:  Night and The Trial of God.

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