ACTUAL WINNER

Sully Prudhomme

Theodor Mommsen

Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson

Frédéric Mistral, José Echegaray

Henryk Sienkiewicz

Giosuè Carducci

Rudyard Kipling

Rudolf Eucken

Selma Lagerlöf

Paul Heyse

Maurice Maeterlinck

Gerhart Hauptmann

Rabindranath Tagore

Romain Rolland

Verner von Heidenstam

Karl Gjellerup, Henrik Pontoppidan

Carl Spitteler

Knut Hamsun

Anatole France

Jacinto Benavente

William Butler Yeats

Wladyslaw Reymont

George Bernard Shaw

Grazia Deledda

Henri Bergson

Sigrid Undset

Thomas Mann

Sinclair Lewis

Erik Axel Karlfeldt

John Galsworthy

Ivan Bunin

Luigi Pirandello

Eugene O'Neill

Roger Martin du Gard

Pearl Buck

Frans Eemil Sillanpää

Johannes V. Jensen

Gabriela Mistral

Hermann Hesse

André Gide

T.S. Eliot

William Faulkner

Bertrand Russell

Pär Lagerkvist

François Mauriac

Winston Churchill

Ernest Hemingway

Halldòr Laxness

Juan Ramón Jiménez

Albert Camus

Boris Pasternak

Salvatore Quasimodo

Saint-John Perse

Ivo Andric

John Steinbeck

Giorgios Seferis

Jean-Paul Sartre

Mikhail Sholokhov

Shmuel Yosef Agnon, Nelly Sachs

Miguel Angel Asturias

Yasunari Kawabata

Samuel Beckett

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Pablo Neruda

Heinrich Böll

Patrick White

Eyvind Johnson, Harry Martinson

Eugenio Montale

Saul Bellow

Vicente Aleixandre

Isaac Bashevis Singer

Odysseus Elytis

Czeslaw Milosz

Elias Canetti

Gabriel García Márquez

William Golding

Jaroslav Seifert

Claude Simon

Wole Soyinka

Joseph Brodsky

Naguib Mahfouz

Camilo José Cela

Octavio Paz

Nadine Gordimer

Derek Walcott

Toni Morrison

Kenzaburo Oe

Seamus Heaney

Wislawa Szymborska

Dario Fo

José Saramago

Günter Grass

Gao Xingjian

V. S. Naipaul

Imre Kertész

J. M. Coetzee

Elfriede Jelinek

Harold Pinter

Orhan Pamuk

Doris Lessing

Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio
by Ted Gioia

Note:  In 2007, I wrote an article on what the Nobel Prize in Literature might
look like in an alternative universe.  This little piece generated a surprising
amount of discussion and debate (
see original article here).   

The premise was simple.  As I wrote then: "Imagine a world in which such
honors are exempt from pettiness, politics and tokenism.  Imagine a Nobel
Prize in which the contributions of Proust, Kafka, Nabokov and Joyce are not
forgotten. Imagine a Nobel Prize in Literature in which genre writers have a
chance.  Imagine a Nobel Prize in Literature that doesn't bend over backward to
exclude native born U.S. writers (only three honored during the last 52 years!)."

These words seem even more relevant to me now than they did a year ago.   
But no matter how bad the Nobel decisions might look, at least I have my
alternative universe.





ALT-REALITY NOBEL PRIZE IN LITERATURE
AWARDED TO . . . AN AMERICAN NOVELIST!

The judges at the Swedish Academy are smarter than you
think.   They really out-did themselves this year by
orchestrating a clever disinformation campaign attacking
all
American novelists across the board
(that was a giveaway
right then, my friends)—then they turn around and give the
award to Don DeLillo.   They are a sly bunch!

Of course, I saw it coming all along.   
Secretary of the Swedish Academy
Horace Engdahl may have fooled
everyone else, but when I heard his
recent rant on the
broad-mindedness
and lack of insularity of European
culture, I knew immediately that this
was comedy and performance art of
the highest quality.  After all, a recent
survey to pick the best Swedish
works of fiction of all time had
Pippi
Longstocking
in fourth place.  Say no
more.  We don't even need to get into
the topic of Mohammed and newspaper
cartoons.

You have to give Engdahl credit for keeping a straight face
even while he performed his little skit.  He is a real wit and
knows how to pull your leg—sort of the Borat of serious
literature.   Yet it’s amazing how many people took the bait.  
Some folks were even predicting the award would go to Jean-
Marie Gustave Le Clezio of France—as a way of demonstrating
the Academy's commitment to
anti-insularity.  Huh?  That
would be like going to Alaska to find a running mate . . .

DeLillo is a brilliant choice.  In a few days, he will turn 72, and
he has written fifteen novels, including classics such as
White
Noise
and Underworld.  No contemporary writer has a better
feel for dialogue or is less . . . well, insular.  His critique of the
banality and dehumanization of American life is much more
incisive and interesting than anything you will hear in the
hallowed halls of the S
venska Akademien.

I know I should be celebrating the event, but I can’t help
wondering what the Swedish Academy has in store next year.   
How can they top this one, with its real-life meta-fiction angles.
Fool me once, Mr. Engdahl, shame on you.  Fool me twice,
shame on me.  

     *                *                *                *

Below is a complete list of past winners of the Nobel Prize in
Literature from an alternative universe.
Contact Ted Gioia at
tedgioia@hotmail.com

Visit his web site at
www.tedgioia.com

Great Books Guide is an
Amazon.com associate

Visit
Blogcritics
"Writers, unlike most people, tell their best
lies when they are alone."
Michael Chabon

"I have always imagined that Paradise will be
a kind of library."
  
Jorge Luis Borges

Make no mistake, those who write long books
have nothing to say.  Of course those who
write short books have even less to say."  
  
Mark Danielewski

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best
friend.  Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."  
Groucho Marx

"Never judge a book by its movie."  
J.W. Eagan
Great Books Guide
The Nobel Prize in Literature from
an Alternative Universe (2008)
Visit Our Companion Site The New Canon
Don DeLillo
YEAR

1901

1902

1903

1904

1905

1906

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1911

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2008
ALTERNATIVE REALITY WINNER

Leo Tolstoy

George Meredith

Anton Chekhov

Jules Verne

Henrik Ibsen

Mark Twain

Rudyard Kipling

John Millington Synge

August Strindberg

W.S. Gilbert

Henry James

William Dean Howells

Georg Trakl

Guillaume Apollinaire

Sigmund Freud

Joseph Conrad

Thomas Hardy

Rainer Maria Rilke

Marcel Proust

Franz Kafka

William Butler Yeats

Miguel de Unamuno

George Bernard Shaw

Arthur Conan Doyle

Constantine P. Cavafy

Edith Wharton

Thomas Mann

F. Scott Fitzgerald

G. K. Chesterton

Zane Grey

Stefan Zweig

Luigi Pirandello

Eugene O'Neill

James Joyce

Virginia Woolf

Robert Musil

W. H. Auden

George Orwell

Hermann Broch

André Gide

T.S. Eliot

William Faulkner

Ludwig Wittgenstein

Dorothy Parker

Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

Wallace Stevens

Ernest Hemingway

Bertolt Brecht

Raymond Chandler

Albert Camus

E. M. Forster

Cole Porter

Ian Fleming

William Carlos Willaims

John Steinbeck

Giorgios Seferis

Jean-Paul Sartre

Jack Kerouac

Agatha Christie, Jorge Luis Borges

Vladimir Nabokov

Yukio Mishima

Samuel Beckett

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Pablo Neruda

J.R.R. Tolkein

Lionel Trilling

John Lennon, Paul McCartney

Eugenio Montale

Saul Bellow

Tennessee Williams

Isaac Bashevis Singer

Philip K. Dick

Czeslaw Milosz

Elias Canetti

Gabriel García Márquez

Graham Greene

Italo Calvino

Philip Larkin

Eugene Ionesco

Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein

Salman Rushdie

Theodor Seuss Geisel

Octavio Paz

Muriel Spark

Bob Dylan

Ralph Ellison

Stephen Sondheim

Isaiah Berlin

Stanisław Lem

Hunter Thompson

Roberto Bolaño

Tom Stoppard

Haruki Murakami

V. S. Naipaul

John le Carré

Mario Vargas Llosa

John Updike

Milan Kundera

Philip Roth

J.K. Rowling

Don DeLillo
Selected Reviews
(2007-2010)
BY TED GIOIA

Jonathan Franzen [click here]
Per Petterson [
click here]
David Mitchell
[click here]
Joseph Epstein
[click here]
Frederick Turner
[click here]
Tom Rachman
[click here]
Martin Amis
[click here]
Ian McEwan
[click here]
Robert Stone [
click here]
Don DeLillo [
click here]
Joshua Ferris [
click here]
Paul Auster [
click here]
Philip Roth [
click here]
Jonathan Lethem [
click here]
Richard Powers [
click here]
Jedediah Berry [
click here]
Richard Russo
[click here]
Thomas Pynchon [
click here]
Reif Larsen [
click here]
Arthur Phillips [
click here]
Colm Tóibín [
click here]
Jayne Anne Phillips [
click here]
Geoff Dyer
[click here]
T.C. Boyle
[click here]
Jonathan Littell
[click here]
Daniel Suarez
[click here]
Jim Harrison [
click here]
José Saramago [
click here]
Toni Morrison [
click here]
Roberto Bolaño [
click here]
Chuck Klosterman [
click here]
Paul Auster [
click here]
Philip Roth [
click here]
Julian Barnes [
click here]
Marilynne Robinson
[click here]
Tim Winton [
click here]
Jonathan Miles [
click here]
Jhumpa Lahiri [
click here]
Joseph O'Neill [
click here]
Richard Price [
click here]
Tobias Wolff [
click here]
Donald Ray Pollock
[click here]
Charles Bock [
click here]
Geraldine Brooks [
click here]
Alan Bennett [
click here]
Mario Vargas Llosa [
click here]
Denis Johnson [
click here]
Philip Roth [
click here]
Ann Patchett [
click here]
Junot Diaz [
click here]
Matt Ruff [
click here]
Ryszard Kapuściński [
click here]
Roberto Bolaño [
click here]
Jack Kerouac [
click here]
John Leland [
click here]
Ian McEwan [
click here]
Khaled Hosseini [
click here]
Don DeLillo [
click here]
Michael Chabon [
click here]
Haruki Murakami [click here]
Jonathan Lethem [
click here]
Michael Ondaatje [
click here]
Steven Hall [
click here]