Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio of France has been awarded the 2008 Nobel Prize in Literature. The Nobel Committee in their annoucement stated that the “author of new departures, poetic adventure and sensual ecstasy, explorer of a humanity beyond and below the reigning civilization.” We are trying not to let the negative statements about Americans made by Horace Engdahl of the Swedish Academy (which selects the recipient of the prize each year) tarnish our view of Clezio, who has had an amazing career. Enghal commented on why an American has not won the prize since Toni Morrison in 1993. He said,
The U.S. is too isolated, too insular. They don’t translate enough and don’t really participate in the big dialogue of literature. That ignorance is restraining. (read more about these comments here.)
So, the Swedish Academy is giving us restrained and ignorant Americans a chance to learn more about a great French novelist. If you’d like to read more about Le Clezio, you may want to visit his author page in our LION database (click on the criticism link for articles and reference link for biographical info, a MVCC ID is required to access this from off campus).