From Publishers Weekly
Since the first Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded in 1901, controversy has surrounded the prize, the laureates and their Nobel lectures, often relating to political engagement or lack thereof. Covering the past 20 years, this collection gathers the remarks of writers as diverse as Orhan Pamuk, J.M. Coetzee, Seamus Heaney, Toni Morrison and Naguib Mahfouz. Pamuk speaks of writing as a solitary venture: writers must feel compelled to shut ourselves up in a room... so that we can create a deep world in our writing. Harold Pinter uses his moment in the Nobel sun to issue a strident attack on the U.S.-British invasion of Iraq. For Gao Xingjian, the writer's task involves the search for truth: To subvert is not the aim of literature; its value lies in discovering and revealing... truth of the human world.... And Joseph Brodsky concludes that a human being is an aesthetic creature before he is an ethical one. While the lectures provide inspiring glimpses of the nature of literature and the aim of the writing life, the collection lacks a strong introduction to explore these disparate views or to explain the rationale for a collection of speeches that are readily available elsewhere. (Oct.)
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The Nobel Prize
is an international award instituted by the Swedish scientist Alfred Nobel through his will and administered by the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden. First awarded in 1901, the Nobel Prize in Literature celebrates the work of a writer whose contribution to literature consistently transcends national boundaries to connect with the human condition.