Oe Wins the Nobel Prize in Literature (Great Events from History II: Arts and Culture Series)
Article abstract: The awarding of the Nobel Prize to leftist, antiwar activist Japanese writer Kenzaburo Oe brought worldwide attention to his views and to the radical developments in postwar Japanese literature.
Summary of Event
The announcement that Kenzaburo Oe, one of Japan’s most popular writers, had won the Nobel Prize in Literature came on October 13, 1994. Because this prize represents such a great achievement, Oe became an overnight celebrity. His photographs and biography appeared in newspapers around the world. Reporters stormed his home to question him about his reaction and what significance the prize would have for him and his family.
The award of the prestigious Nobel Prize to the fifty-nine-year-old Oe came as a surprise to the literary world. In spite of his popularity in his own country, Oe had not been widely published in English or in other languages. His last book to be published in English was Nan to mo shirenai ni (1983; The Crazy Iris and Other Stories of the Atomic Aftermath, 1985), which had had only modest sales ten years before. According to an article in The New York Times, the writers considered most likely to receive the award in 1994 had been Hugo Claus, Belgian poet, playwright and novelist, who writes in Flemish; the German novelist and playwright Peter Handke; the Dutch novelist Cees Nooteboom; the Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer; the Japanese...
(The entire section is 2326 words.)
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