Tuesday, June 03, 2008

When the Spirit Moves a Nobel Winner

The modern American canon would not exist without all this madness and alcohol ...
says Micheal Carolan (left) in The Amhearst Bulletin. Carolan is teaching a course at the University of Massachusetts entitled Dionysus Hitting Bottom: The Alcoholic Narrative in Film and Literature.

Those who ponder the fact that Malaysian authors aren't winning Nobel Prizes might like to think about this :
... of eight native-born Americans awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, five were alcoholics, including Sinclair Lewis and Eugene O'Neill. ... (And) Alcohol is a factor if not the central focus of the three top modern novelists - Hemingway, Faulkner and Fitzgerald. ... As novelists they were addressing how man lived in the 20th century, and the answer was, through drinking.
And yet, says Carolan, authors' alcoholism has been ignored or denied in literary criticism.

This looks set to change with the growth of :
... the relatively new area of inquiry known as "addiction studies," a multidisciplinary field that combines literary criticism with sociological and historical perspectives. ... Carolan said his class also brings together fields of addiction medicine, film studies, psychology, sociology, cultural and gender studies.

(Story found via Literary Saloon.)

9 comments:

Madcap Machinist said...

didn't do Dorothy Parker much good though...

animah said...

Apparently Malaysia's most famous late filmaker had the same inspiration. But it's not something we like to talk about.

Yusuf/Martin said...

Yes Animah and certain cartoonists too, but sssssssssssssssssh.

Actually sounds like an interesting course, is it held in a bar by any chance?

Seriously it is a course I wouldn't have minded attending.


ps Many of the world's great writers/poets were inspired either by drugs or by alcohol - or both!

bibliobibuli said...

including, yes, billy the bard

Mag said...

Hahaha! Also, I never knew you could take up "addiction studies".

Burhan said...

although i drink neither, i think that caffeine has done more to literature and science, and perhaps most other fields, than alcohol.

i can confirm that addiction studies is a very exciting field right now in the field of theory. a lot of the big-name philosophers are taking it up. it is, properly speaking, about addiction in itself, and not confined to just alcohol. it can be addiction to caffeine, sex, work, nicotine, drug, prescription drugs, video games, love, books, brad pitt, the internet, and blogs!

i can also confirm, based on my meticulous research of Jackie Chan movies, that alcohol does wonders to ones kungfu.

s.nizam said...

Coke Light, the occasional hard cheese and Sampoernas for me please.

bibliobibuli said...

blog addiction is up there with alchohol and drugs and the rest? i am sunk!

msiagirl said...

hahaha excellent...addiction studies. We are all sunk ;)