Nobel Writers on Writing

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Ottar G. Draugsvold
McFarland, 2000 - Humor - 297 pages
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When in 1901 Alfred Nobel bequeathed to the world the funds to support the Nobel Prize, one of his few directives for the category of literature was that the artists selected be of "idealistic tendency." Since its inception, the prize has given a very public voice to some of the world's greatest writers, and their responses to the honor-their acceptance speeches-have themselves often been epochal within each author's body of literature. From the famed call to "arms" by William Faulkner to the multicultural song of Derek Walcott, from 1903's Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson to 1999's Günter Grass, this collection traces the ideals of the artists and the selection committee itself throughout the entirety of the 20th century. "Interestingly," writes Draugsvold, "none [of the writers] discuss the more technical aspects of their craft." Equally striking is the strength of the common thread of idealism found in these addresses-a firm belief in humankind and the power of art, in its role in "the service of truth and the service of liberty" as Albert Camus said in 1957. "I decline to accept the end of man" wrote the Old Man, William Faulkner. The speeches presented here were chosen not by subjective but rather by substantive criteria, with biographical presentations and brief statements of gratitude omitted. Included are an introduction to each of the 28 writers chosen, an excerpted copy of the speech or lecture and a bibliography of works in English. The work concludes with a complete list of prize winners in literature and a bibliography of sources cited in the writer's introductions.

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Nobel writers on writing

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In presenting the selected speeches of 31 Nobel prize-winning authors, Draugsvold (a member of PEN New England and the Association of Literary Scholars and Critics) aims to give insight into their ... Read full review


19 Isaac Bashevis Singer
20 Czeslaw Milosz
Gabriel Garcia 1 Bjornstjerne Bjornson 9 Marquez

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