In 1895, Alfred Nobel stated in his will that those will be awarded “who, during the preceding year, have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind“. However, the famous and most prestigious Nobel Prize is not a single award but consists of five separate prizes in the fields of Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Peace, and also Literature which is, of course, very important in the context of Lit4School. Since 1901, it is given to the laureates annually on this very day and is usually part of a big ceremony and banquet. The laureates receive a golden medal, a diploma from the King of Sweden and a certain amount of money.
It is safe to say that the Nobel Prize in Literature is a highly controversial award. All of us probably remember being dependent on the mercy, mood and opinion of the English or German teacher for good grades. Of course, the field of writing is very subjective and the Nobel committee in Sweden doesn’t represent the whole world so that many choices were cause for huge discussions about the writer’s nationalities and therefore languages (can translations be judged the same way as the original) and about the issue, if the writer really deserved the award. Also, the prize was given to 117 individuals and it’s striking that only 16 of them were women, half of them laureates since 1991. The increasing number of female writers being awarded the Nobel Prize, however, can be seen as a positive development as they gain more and more recognition. Here are some laureates of the Nobel Prize in Literature on Lit4School English:
- T.S. Eliot (“The Waste Land“)
- Ernest Hemingway (Cat in the Rain, Hills Like White Elephants)
- John Steinbeck (Of Mice and Men)
- William Golding (Lord of the Flies)
- Doris Lessing (The Fifth Child)
- Kazuo Ishiguro (Never Let Me Go)
- Toni Morrison (Sweetness)
While it is the most renowned award in literature, we all know that one doesn’t need an award to have an impact on the world.
Kind regards and stay safe everyone,