Tuesday Hatred of prizes (& the prices thereof)
I hate that Thomas Pynchon did not win the Nobel Prize. It’s not so much that I particularly care who gets it. But Pynchon not getting it means that my scarcely read dialogue with his masterpiece Gravity’s Rainbow published here will remain just that: scarcely read. Nobody will discover my insights, nor the post-perfectionist style which I perfected precisely to be able to write them in, and be able to forward such discovery pointing out to the forwardees how I started this intriguing series of literary collage in tempore non suspecto (i.e. before any wide publication of Mr. Pynchon being hot as far as being a possible recipient of this most elusive of prizes).
Instead, they gave it to a Swede. Go figure. From looking at the possible candidates and recent winners, I would guess that the price to pay for winning the Nobel prize of literature is that one has to be prepared to live far longer than is healthy for the spirit. Maybe one should write a book about writers who have outlived their writing but are in a fierce competition to look as if they are about to die for as long as possible a time. On the one hand, you don’t get the prize if the committee does not feel like you might not be around the next year to get it. On the other hand, there are at least ten people who might get it and who all look like they might not be around next year. Outliving those who are about to die therefore seems to be the key capacity to get the prize.
[The same cannot be said for other prizes such as those of Peace and Economics but, as we all know: it’s more immediately apparent whether a certain action or research has advanced peace or the field of economics than it is whether a book or a poem has lasting value. The former is a matter of one to a couple of years whereas the latter normally would take a couple of centuries at least. One can only hope for the Nobel prize committee that the average life expectancy of writers goes up to 200 years or so soon.]
The essence of my today’s hatred is a counter-factual. This means my hatred is of a purely academic nature. In fact, I hope Mr. Pynchon never gets the Nobel prize for if he never were to get it my dream will remain unchallenged meaning that I can die happily in the belief that it might have come true if only …
The upside of this is that I need to feel under no compulsion to live any longer than I really want to.
Take that, Tomas Gösta Tranströmer!
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