Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Can you imagine Joyce Carol Oates winning the Nobel Prize tomorrow? Then the main topic would be how irrelevant the award is. I can already see the cover of The New Republic: Oates profile on a gold Nobel medallion. "The Unbearable Lightness of the Nobel Prize" by James Wood. "Oates: Why She Sucks" by Dale Peck. "Repeal the Nobel" -- The Editors. "Leon Wieseltier on Stockholm Politics."


Robert Nagle said...

Ok, I'll take the bait.

Oates actually is more accomplished and distinguished than other winners such as Toni Morrison. And despite being prolific, she's managed to sell pretty well and stay rather high quality. (BTW, I participated in a workshop with her once).

I don't like the idea of these awards going to Americans (preferring an outsider like Ismail Kadare, for example or maybe Stanislaw Lem ), but I would be proud if she won.

With a diminishing readership and more uniform reading tastes, international prizes are important. And although it wouldn't be a bad thing to have an icoclastic article or two in the New Republic about Oates or even the Nobels, Oates is one of the few writers who deserves all the critical attention she gets.
Robert Nagle

RW said...

Stanley Crouch (see above) is a big fan. I've only read one of her books -- What I Lived For -- but it seemed to me hastily thrown together, as well as misogynous.