Monday, November 11, 2013

Prolegomena to Any Future Discussion of the Nobel Prize; or, The Only Nobel List You'll Ever Need

Now that the annual suspense is a month behind us and the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded to the impressive and deserving Canadian short story writer Alice Munro rather than (to name a few equally deserving North Americans) Michael Ondaatje, Margaret Atwood, Philip Roth, Thomas Pynchon, Joyce Carol Oates, Cormac McCarthy, William Kennedy, Don DeLillo, John Ashbery, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Peter Matthiessen, Edward Albee, William Gass..., this is perhaps a good time to cast a colder-than-Canadian eye on the Nobel by composing a list of non-Nobel laureates that is even more distinguished than the well-known list of winners. Granted, Beckett and Mann and Faulkner and Hemingway and Sartre and Camus and Grass and Coetzee and many other major, deserving writers have all won the Nobel, but check out the undeniably major writers to whom the Swedish Academy awarded a Hemingwayish nada:

Leo Tolstoy.

Joseph Conrad.

Henry James.

Emile Zola.

Mark Twain.

August Strindberg.

Henrik Ibsen.

Anton Chekhov.

James Joyce.

Marcel Proust.

Virginia Woolf.

Franz Kafka.

Robert Musil.

D. H. Lawrence.

E. M. Forster.

Carlos Fuentes.

Chinua Achebe.

Arthur Miller.

Henry Miller.

Tennessee Williams.

William Carlos Williams.

Jean Genet.

William Gaddis.

Allen Ginsberg.

Jorge Luis Borges.

Andre Breton.

Paul Eluard.

Louis Aragon.

Antonin Artaud.

Federico Garcia Lorca.

Julio Cortazar.

Italo Calvino.

James Baldwin.

Danilo Kis.

Bertolt Brecht.

Mikhail Bulgakov.

Vladimir Nabokov.

W. H. Auden.

W. G. Sebald.

Alain Robbe-Grillet.

Louis Ferdinand Celine.

Ezra Pound.

Simone de Beauvoir.

John Dos Passos.

Paul Celan.

C. P. Cavafy.

It appears as though Tom, Don, Philip and Ol' Cormac are going to be in excellent company either way.

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