Nobel Prize in Literature

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The Nobel Prize in Literature is awarded annually to an author from any country who has, in the words of Alfred Nobel, produced "the most outstanding work of an idealistic tendency". The "work" in this case generally refers to an author's work as a whole, not to any individual work, though individual works are sometimes cited in the awards. The Swedish Academy decides who, if anyone, will receive the prize in any given year.

The original citation of Nobel's will led to much controversy. In the original Swedish, the word idealisk can be translated as either "idealistic" or "ideal". In earlier years the Nobel Committee stuck closely to the intent of the will, and left out certain world-renowned writers such as Leo Tolstoy and Henrik Ibsen for the Prize, probably because their works were not "idealistic" enough. In later years the wording is interpreted much more liberally, and the Prize is awarded, as is often argued that it should be, for lasting literary merit. However, the award continues to generate some amount of controversy as more famous names in literature are sometimes neglected in favor of less widely received ones, as in Dario Fo in 1997. However, this may be seen as unavoidable in all literary awards based on subjective opinions. Whether or not the committee has been unduly biased towards certain political perspectives is a matter of discussion.


Nomination procedure

Each year the Swedish Academy sends out requests for nominations of candidates for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Members of the Academy, members of literature academies and societies, professors of literature and language, former Nobel literature laureates, and the presidents of writers' organizations are all allowed to nominate a candidate. However, it is not possible to nominate oneself.

Thousands of requests are sent out each year, and about fifty proposals are returned. These proposals must be received by the Academy by February 1, after which they are examined by the Nobel Committee. By April, the Academy narrows the field to around twenty candidates, and by summer the list is reduced further to some five names. In October that year, members of the Academy vote, and the candidate who receives more than half the number of votes is named the Nobel Laureate in Literature. The process is similar to those of other Nobel Prizes.

The prize money of the Nobel Prize has been fluctuating since its inauguration but as present stands at 10 million Swedish krona. The winner also wins a gold medal and a Nobel diploma.

List of Nobel Laureates in Literature

List of Nobel Prize laureates in Literature from 1901 to the present day.

Year Name Country Language(s)
1901 Sully Prudhomme France French
1902 Theodor Mommsen Germany German
1903 Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson Norway Norwegian
1904 Frédéric Mistral France Occitan
José Echegaray y Eizaguirre Spain Spanish
1905 Henryk Sienkiewicz Poland Polish
1906 Giosuè Carducci Italy Italian
1907 Rudyard Kipling United Kingdom English
1908 Rudolf Christoph Eucken Germany German
1909 Selma Lagerlöf Sweden Swedish
1910 Paul Heyse Germany German
1911 Count Maurice Maeterlinck Belgium French
1912 Gerhart Hauptmann Germany German
1913 Rabindranath Tagore India Bengali
1915 Romain Rolland France French
1916 Verner von Heidenstam Sweden Swedish
1917 Karl Adolph Gjellerup Denmark Danish
Henrik Pontoppidan Denmark Danish
1919 Carl Spitteler Switzerland German
1920 Knut Hamsun Norway Norwegian
1921 Anatole France France French
1922 Jacinto Benavente Spain Spanish
1923 William Butler Yeats Ireland English
1924 Władysław Reymont Poland Polish
1925 George Bernard Shaw Ireland English
1926 Grazia Deledda Italy Italian
1927 Henri Bergson France French
1928 Sigrid Undset Norway Norwegian
1929 Thomas Mann Germany German
1930 Sinclair Lewis United States English
1931 Erik Axel Karlfeldt Sweden Swedish
1932 John Galsworthy United Kingdom English
1933 Ivan Alekseyevich Bunin Russia (in exile) Russian
1934 Luigi Pirandello Italy Italian
1936 Eugene O'Neill United States English
1937 Roger Martin du Gard France French
1938 Pearl S. Buck United States English
1939 Frans Eemil Sillanpää Finland Finnish
1944 Johannes Vilhelm Jensen Denmark Danish
1945 Gabriela Mistral Chile Spanish
1946 Hermann Hesse Switzerland German
1947 André Gide France French
1948 T. S. Eliot United States/United Kingdom English
1949 William Faulkner United States English
1950 Bertrand Russell United Kingdom English
1951 Pär Lagerkvist Sweden Swedish
1952 François Mauriac France French
1953 Sir Winston Churchill United Kingdom English
1954 Ernest Hemingway United States English
1955 Halldór Laxness Iceland Icelandic
1956 Juan Ramón Jiménez Spain Spanish
1957 Albert Camus France French
1958 Boris Pasternak (declined the prize)[1] Russia Russian
1959 Salvatore Quasimodo Italy Italian
1960 Saint-John Perse France French
1961 Ivo Andric Yugoslavia Serbo-Croat
1962 John Steinbeck United States English
1963 Giorgos Seferis Greece Greek
1964 Jean-Paul Sartre (declined the prize)[2] France French
1965 Michail Sholokhov Russia Russian
1966 Shmuel Yosef Agnon Israel Hebrew
Nelly Sachs Germany German
1967 Miguel Ángel Asturias Guatemala Spanish
1968 Yasunari Kawabata Japan Japanese
1969 Samuel Beckett Ireland English/French
1970 Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Russia Russian
1971 Pablo Neruda Chile Spanish
1972 Heinrich Böll Germany (West) German
1973 Patrick White Australia English
1974 Eyvind Johnson Sweden Swedish
Harry Martinson Sweden Swedish
1975 Eugenio Montale Italy Italian
1976 Saul Bellow Canada/United States English
1977 Vicente Aleixandre Spain Spanish
1978 Isaac Bashevis Singer United States Yiddish
1979 Odysseas Elytis Greece Greek
1980 Czesław Miłosz Poland/United States Polish
1981 Elias Canetti United Kingdom German
1982 Gabriel García Márquez Colombia Spanish
1983 William Golding United Kingdom English
1984 Jaroslav Seifert Czechoslovakia Czech
1985 Claude Simon France French
1986 Akinwande Oluwole Soyinka Nigeria English
1987 Joseph Brodsky Russia/United States Russian/English
1988 Naguib Mahfouz Egypt Arabic
1989 Camilo José Cela Spain Spanish
1990 Octavio Paz Mexico Spanish
1991 Nadine Gordimer South Africa English
1992 Derek Walcott St. Lucia English
1993 Toni Morrison United States English
1994 Kenzaburo Oe Japan Japanese
1995 Seamus Heaney Ireland English
1996 Wisława Szymborska Poland Polish
1997 Dario Fo Italy Italian
1998 José Saramago Portugal Portuguese
1999 Günter Grass Germany German
2000 Gao Xingjian France/China Chinese
2001 Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul United Kingdom English
2002 Imre Kertész Hungary Hungarian
2003 John Maxwell Coetzee South Africa English
2004 Elfriede Jelinek Austria German
2005 Harold Pinter United Kingdom English

See also

External links

Nobel Prizes
The Sciences
Chemistry | Physiology or Medicine | Physics
The Arts, Theological Science, and the Peace Prize
Literature | Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel | Peace Prize
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