Friday, October 10, 2008

Le Clezio Wins Nobel

This year's Nobel Prize for literature goes to French novelist Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio, described but Horace Engdahl, the permanent secretary of the Nobel judges (and the guy who ran down American authors a few days ago) as an :
... author of new departures, poetic adventure and sensual ecstasy, explorer of a humanity beyond and below the reigning civilisation.
According to Alison Flood in the Guardian :
Born in 1940, Le Clézio first found fame aged 23 with his debut novel Le Procès-Verbal, which was awarded the Prix Renaudot for its depiction of a young man who ends up in a mental hospital. Compared to Sartre's Nausea and Camus's The Outsider, the book introduced one of Le Clézio's major preoccupations, that of the flight from the norm to extreme states of mind. It is still regarded as one of his best pieces of writing. ... His real breakthrough as a novelist came with 1980's Désert, whose tale of a lost culture in the North African desert and a Europe seen through the eyes of immigrants won him a French Academy prize.
His recent works include Ballaciner(2007) which the academy called :
... a deeply personal essay about the history of the art of film
and he has also written several books for children.

John Litchfield in the Independent today says :
Le Clézio is regarded by many students of literature as the greatest living French writer (even though he was relatively little-read and little-discussed in France until yesterday). But he has established a worldwide reputation as a "modern Homer", a student of almost every culture on the planet, written and unwritten, and a passionate advocate for the superior wisdom of "non-rational", non-Western ways of understanding human existence. ... There are few modern writers more cosmopolitan than Le Clézio. He was born in France. His father was a Mauritian-born British doctor. He spent part of his childhood with his father in Africa and several years in the 1970s living with an Indian tribe in Panama. He now lives and teaches for most of the year in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He once said: "The French language is my only country, the only place that I call home."
There's an interesting interview with the author on France Diplomatie.


Burhan said...

glad that he won. french-language lit hasn't won one for a while - even though, overall, they've won too much. with this and the best film prize at cannes, their culture is making a comeback on the world cultural stage.

dreamer idiot said...

Haven't heard of him before, and thanks to the Nobel committee for highlighting this, because he does appear to be a very interesting writer... and I don't think it would be long before we see his books on the shelf.