Thursday, October 13, 2005

Nobel Prize announced

Today it was announced that Harold Pinter has won the 2005 Nobel Prize for Literature. The British playwright is much decorated, and, I suppose, is deserving of the honour. I am not familiar with his work, though I have heard of him before. I guess that's more than I can say about last year's winner, Austrian Elfriede Jelinek. I am a little disappointed because there was conjecture that Canada's own Margaret Atwood was in the running. Canada has never won a Nobel Prize for Literature before, and I think Atwood would be a prime candidate. I can't think of many authors that have affected both academic and cultural circles like Atwood; even if you've never read any of her novels or poems, you still know her name. Anyhoo, I thought maybe she'd win. Good for Pinter, though. It's not like British literature has been celebrated enough or anything (And yes, I realize the irony of this statement).

6 comments:

Scott McC said...

you say: "Canada has never won a Nobel Prize for Literature before...". I wasn't even aware it was POSSIBLE for a country to be awarded the prize. I thought people won it.

To paraphrase Ferris Bueller, who was paraphrasing John Lennon: "I don't believe in countries, I just believe in me."

Speedy said...

You know I too thought of Margaret Atwood when I was waiting to hear who would win. She really is a wonderful writer and very well known. It would be nice to see a Canadian writer win such an honor. - Jamie

Garry said...

Well, I guess if you want to be dead literal you're right: countries don't win Nobel prizes. Then again, countries don't really exist, except in theory; they will always be the collective representation on a specific group of individuals. By that logic, Atwood, as a Canadian, represents her country's literature; and, as a result, any prize awarded to her writing is a prize awarded to her country. Thus, when I said "Canada..." I meant "a person from Canada"; I stand corrected. By the way, "Canada" has never won a gold medal, either: the victory at Salt Lake City was the collective victory of 20 or so individuals from this country over 20 or so individuals of that country. Either way, their country is also my country and therefore I am going to be proud that someone from the same country as me won something.

Garry said...

Scott, did you write that just to get me all riled up?

Scott McC said...

Hee hee.

Scott McC said...

But to split hairs again, I think there's a big difference between the 2002 Olypmic Gold Medal winning hockey team and Margaret Atwood (or whoever). And I'm not talking about their back-checking skills.
Those players were chosen specifically to REPRESENT the country of Canada at an international competition where it actually IS countries that compete (as well as individuals and teams). Margaret Atwood only "represents" Canada in a more casual/abstract sense - yes, she's from there, but she isn't really playing for "our" team in a competition for Nobel Prizes. To be honest, I wish the Nobel website would get rid of the country labels on their award winners page.
Incidentally, I totally agree with you in that countries don't really exist - they are merely a construct of the human mind. And the less importance we can attach to how we identify with those countries, the better (not that I'd expect it to ever happen, but to quote John Lennon again - "imagine there's no countries".