Monologue of a Dog (Magill's Literary Annual 2006)
In spite of the proliferation of prizes in the literary community, a phenomenon studied by James F. English, who has determined that there are about one hundred prizes for every one thousand books published in the United States, the Nobel Prize in Literature stands far above and beyond the others, coveted by writers regardless of their nationality and conveying both prestige and, at least temporarily, the imprimatur of the world’s literati. Some of the recent selections by the Swedish committee have been not only unknown to most American readers but inaccessible and even baffling to many. The Italian playwright Dario Fo’s award in 1997 drew anger and confusion, while the award to the Austrian novelist and playwright Elfriede Jelinek in 2004 led to a response of “Who?” from even readers with a solid cultural context. Wisawa Szymborska’s award in 1996, on the other hand, while initially startling many serious readers, has been generally acknowledged as a superb choice as more people in the Anglo/American literary community have become familiar with her work.
While a European writer such as Günter Grass, the Nobel laureate of 2002, has been received with appreciation and understanding in the United States since the publication of Die Blechtrommel (1959; The Tin Drum, 1961), the subject matter and sensibility of writers such as Fo and Jelinekeven when their work has found a comfortable equivalent in English translationshas not...
(The entire section is 1943 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!