Joshua Goldstein wrote:
> Another point on Dylan. I think he deserves the Nobel, and deserved
> it 30 years ago. Just as Eliot should have been awarded it when he
> was writing poetry. It seems that the Nobel for Literature is more of
> a lifetime achievement award, unlike some of the other fields.
I got curious as to what the charter was the literature prize and this
led me to an article on the Nobel Prize website that discusses how the
prize committee changed its views over time as to what Nobel intended
for the literature prize. The author sees several periods of fairly
consistent criteria for its presentations but differing from one
period to another. Eliot was awarded his prize in the period that the
author labels "The Pioneers".
Given a pause for renewal by the Second World War and inspired by its
new secretary, Anders Österling, the post-war Academy finished this
excursion into popular taste, focussing instead on what was called
"the pioneers". Like in the sciences, the Laureates were to be found
among those who paved the way for new developments. In a way, this is
another interpretation of the formula "the greatest benefit on
mankind": the perfect candidate was the one who had provided world
literature with new possibilities in outlook and language.
The author now sees the Nobel as being a literary prize for best recent
The Nobel Prize in Literature
by Kjell Espmark