The Nobel Prize
Xudong Zhang, NYU comparative literature professor and chair of the East Asian Studies department, talks about Mo Yan's life and work and his Nobel prize.
You know what's not a productive way of looking at Chinese literature? Suggesting that the Nobel Prize is less deserved by more experimental, writerly (read genuinely literary) writers whose readership is (quelle surprise smaller than that of more conventional writers using passe forms that only appeal to readers *not* up to the task of reading ACTUAL literature. Yes, for shameful reasons that have everything to do with these readers' lack of attainment and laziness, "easier" writers who cop out by using literary arsenals that were passe several generations ago are--wait for it--more popular. The point of the Nobel is not to reproduce the dim popular-readerly mind of any given country, or of any "international" audience, but to reward brave, original work that advances the literary field. In particular, the notion that a work "speaks" more readily to the citizens of a given single country is doubly beside the point when it comes to the awarding of the international, highly prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature.
He'd chosen the pseudonym "Mo Yan" because he was far too talkative.
Do we get treated to yet another empty chair at the awards ceremony this year?
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