Andrey Petrov on Vesti.FM: something wrong with national question of Nobel Prize in literature

Andrey Petrov on Vesti.FM: something wrong with national question of Nobel Prize in literature

Something wrong with the national question of the Nobel Prize in literature, a senior analyst at Vestnik Kavkaza news agency,  Andrey Petrov, said in the National Question program on Vesti.FM today, commenting on the scandal in Poland due to the award won by Olga Tokarchuk.

“Asia is represented by only three Japanese, two Chinese and two Indians with reservations. Gao Xinjian and Mo Yan were awarded in 2000 and 2012. At the time of getting the prize, Gao already was a French immigrant. The situation is different with India: Bengali Rabindranath Tagore became laureate in 1913, and that’s all. The second Hindu, Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipol and Japanese Kazuo Ishiguro belong to Asia only by origin, but in fact, they are great British writers,” Andrey Petrov said.

“The Middle East was marked by only three authors - Israeli Shmuel Agnon in the mid-60s, Egyptian Naguib Mahfouz in the late 80s and Turkish Orhan Pamuk in 2006. Thus, Iranian literature is ignored by the Nobel Committee,” the senior analyst of Vestnik Kavkaza drew attention.

“Africans should have even more complaints about the Nobel prize in literature: there are only three laureates from Africa, except for Egyptian Mahfouz, Nigerian-Yoruba Wole Soyinka and two South African citizens - Jewish Nadine Gordimer and descendant of European colonists John Maxwell Coetzee. Soyinka as the only native African was awarded in 1986. By the way, there is only one African American among American laureates - Tony Morrison, awarded in 1993,” the expert emphasized.

“That is, in an amazing way these days, when other international literary prizes begin to apply positive discrimination measures one by one, the Nobel Prize remains, so to speak, a quiet backwater of soft Western chauvinism and non-Europeans awarded only in the framework of conditional national quotas,” Andrey Petrov said.

“Speaking of the West, everything is not going smoothly there either. Canada received the first Nobel laureate - Alice Munro - only in 2013. Australia was marked by Patrick White in 1973. Portugal is also proud of just one laureate, Jose Saramago. Austria began to be awarded only in the 21st century - Elfriede Jelinek in 2004 and now Peter Handke, ” the senior analyst at Vestnik Kavkaza said.

“At the same time, Sweden received 8 prizes, and in 1974 two Swedish writers, Eyvind Johnson and Harry Martinson were awarded at once. Norway and Denmark have three winners each. In fairness, it must be pointed out that the predominance of “their” writers was characteristic of the Nobel prize in literature only in the beginning of the last century, ” the expert said, adding that about half of the prize winners are English, French, Germans, Spaniards, Italians and Irish.

“What are the Slavs? There are 12 of them - it would seem that there is nothing to complain about, certainly in comparison with Asia, Africa, and Latin America, where there are only 7 winners, and not a single Argentinean or Brazilian. But! The last Russian was Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the 1970 prize; the Russian Federation does not have a single laureate. There is one Croat, one Czech, one scandalous Belarusian, but there are no Serbs, Slovaks and Bulgarians,” Andrey Petrov said.

“With the award of Olga Tokarchuk this year, Poland became the Slavic Nobel leader in literature: the country now has five prizes, and this is the 8th place in the world after the countries of Western Europe and the USA. It is surprising that such a recognition of Polish literature, which can only be dreamed of by dozens of countries around the world, was greeted with hostility in Poland because of Tokarchuk's anti-nationalist views, which contradict the ideology of the ruling Law and Justice party. Well, as usual, no man is a hero in his hometown,” the expert summed up.

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