Literary Prizes Criticism: The Nobel Prize In Literature - Essay

William Riggan (essay date summer 1981)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Riggan, William. “The Swedish Academy and the Nobel Prize in Literature: History and Procedure.” World Literature Today 55, no. 3 (summer 1981): 399-405.

[In the following essay, Riggan presents an overview of the background and method of the committee for awarding the Nobel Prize in Literature.]

In presenting separate essays on the ten literary members among “The Eighteen” of the Swedish Academy, the Spring 1981 issue of WLT [World Literature Today, hereafter WLT] (55:2, pp. 197-256) was an attempt to introduce “The Swedish Writers Behind the Nobel Prize” as the ten prominent, engaging and highly individualistic authors that...

(The entire section is 6427 words.)

Kjell Espmark (essay date 1986)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Espmark, Kjell. “Intended for the Literature of the Whole World.” In The Nobel Prize in Literature: A Study of the Criteria behind the Choices, pp. 131-44. Boston: G. K. Hall & Co., 1986.

[In the following excerpt, Espmark explores the Nobel Prizes in Literature awarded after World War II, concluding that the committee's choices during that period reflect a new tolerance for different writing styles and literary movements.]

The Nobel Prize in Literature seemed for a long time to be a European affair. Nobel's will indicated that the prize was to have an international aim, but in cautious wording: “It is my express wish that in awarding the prizes no...

(The entire section is 7120 words.)

William Pratt (essay date spring 1988)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Pratt, William. “Missing the Masters: Nobel Literary Prizes in English, 1967-1987.” World Literature Today 62, no. 2 (spring 1988): 225-28.

[In the following essay, Pratt speculates on the reasons why some of the most famous writers in British and American literature have not been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.]

What do Mark Twain, Henry James, Thomas Hardy, Joseph Conrad, Robert Frost, D. H. Lawrence, James Joyce, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Wallace Stevens, Ezra Pound, W. H. Auden, Robert Penn Warren, Willa Cather, Virginia Woolf, Marianne Moore, Katherine Anne Porter, William Carlos Williams, and Robert Lowell all have in common? They happen to be...

(The entire section is 3271 words.)

Ralph Gunther (essay date 1993)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Gunther, Ralph. “If a Traveler Comes to Florence—” In Giants in Their Field: An Introduction to the Nobel Prizes in Literature, pp. 1-25. Potomac, Md.: Scripta Humanistica, 1993.

[In the following excerpt, Gunther presents a biographical survey of some of the Nobel Prize in Literature winners, focusing on their diversity.]

If a traveler comes to Florence, to the graceful city in the hills of Tuscany where the poet Giosuè Carducci first went to school, he may simply stroll along a riverside street and wind up in a café, unaware of the artistic treasures around him. Or he may visit a priceless collection of paintings by Titian, Raphael, Tintoretto and...

(The entire section is 7757 words.)

Burton Feldman (essay date 2000)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Feldman, Burton. “The Nobel Prize in Literature.” In The Nobel Prize: A History of Genius, Controversy, and Prestige, pp. 55-113. New York: Arcade Publishing, 2000.

[In the following excerpt, Feldman presents a detailed overview of the winners, criteria, and limitations of the Nobel Prize in Literature.]

For a portrait of what the Nobel Prize in Literature is not, one can't do better than Irving Wallace's novel The Prize. Published in 1962, it quickly became a best-seller and a hit movie, and no wonder, considering its sensational plot. The young, “lanky” author is dead drunk when he learns he has won the Nobel Prize. Embittered since his wife...

(The entire section is 22029 words.)