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View Full Version : Writers most deserving of a Nobel in Literature, who never won



blacbird
01-11-2012, 09:54 AM
Criteria:

1. They have to be dead. If a writer is still alive, the possibility of Nobel recognition remains.

2. They have to be recognized as transcending any narrow "genre" classification. You may consider this unfair, but that's the way the Nobel has always worked, so that's the reality. Probably eliminates some very fine and serious writers, like Arthur C. Clarke and Philip K. Dick and Stanislaw Lem.

So, my list, as first considered:

1. Graham Greene (U.K.)
2. Kobo Abé (Japan)
3. Kurt Vonnegut (U.S.)
4. Shiva Naipaul (Trinidad)
5. B. Traven (Mexico, by way of Germany)
6. Georges Simenon (France)
7. Bernard Malamud (U.S.)

That's a start. Some details that may be relevant: Abé and Naipaul died fairly young, and both may have had potential for the Nobel, had they had longer careers. Naipaul was the younger brother of V.S. Naipaul, who did win a Nobel, and who, in my opinion, is the lesser writer.

All my nominees are novelists. Numerous Nobel winners have been poets, and some even playwrights. Not that there's anything wrong with that, as Jerry Seinfeld has said, but I'm far less familiar with those literary endeavors than I am with fiction writers.

The famously reclusive Traven and the famously private Simenon probably would have turned theirs down, had they been named recipients.

And it's hard to include a couple of people now regarded as among the most influential writers of the 20th century, because they died very young, and their work only reached public recognition posthumously. The most notable of these would be Franz Kafka.

And I have my prejudices, which precludes choice of some writers others may consider appropriate. If so, nominate them now. Just remember the two rules, cited above.

caw

shaldna
01-11-2012, 03:02 PM
I stand firm that one of the biggest sins of the Nobel committee was not awarding Robert Frost a Nobel.

Ken
01-11-2012, 03:18 PM
... my gripe is more along the lines of, they hand too many of the prizes out. Only the best of the best of the best should receive them. One per decade would be a good cap.

goldmund
01-11-2012, 03:28 PM
The case of Vonnegut is particularly sad as he deserved a Peace Nobel, too. He turned this misanthropic, hateful teenager into a humanist.

orion_mk3
01-11-2012, 09:20 PM
I would add Jorge Luis Borges, who was overlooked because of his political views.

Arthur Miller was canned in favor of Dario Fo because he was "too predictable, too popular."

I'm not as familiar with Nabokov as some, but he was among those jilted in the preposterous 1974 awards along with the already listed Greene and Bellow (who eventually got a Nobel).

blacbird
01-12-2012, 10:10 AM
I'm not as familiar with Nabokov as some, but he was among those jilted in the preposterous 1974 awards along with the already listed Greene and Bellow (who eventually got a Nobel).

And, in my opinion, Malamud was a better writer than Bellow, and if it was a matter of honoring an American Jewish novelist, he was more deserving.

caw