Notes on the Nobel Prize for Literature
The decision to bestow the 2012 Nobel Prize for Literature on the Chinese novelist Mo Yan raises once again the ticklish question of the patterns of distribution for these laurels at the global level. In almost every country, of course, the awarding of literary prizes has typically been contaminated by national politics, the formation of literary cliques, religious convictions, racial prejudices, double standards and the ideologies of the period. Is this the main reason why, over the 110 years of announcements of winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature, there has never been an awardee from any country in Southeast Asia—while every other region has had its turn?
’My institution subscribes to NLR, why can't I access this article?’
By the same author:
Riddles of Yellow and Red
The bitter oppositions of Thai politics can seem strangely lacking in ideological substance. How might they be explained? In one of his last lectures, Benedict Anderson considers a crucial but overlooked factor: divisions within the country’s Sino-Thai communities.
What explains the extraordinary longevity of Indonesia’s ‘New Order’, and what are the legacies of three decades of dictatorship? Benedict Anderson details Suharto’s career, from colonial army to crony capitalism, and explores the consequences of his rule—political, social, cultural—for a disorientated, amnesiac present.
Political education in the dungeons of Barcelona, and the converging tracks of Filipino and Cuban revolutionaries as the 400-year-old Spanish empire enters its final throes. Benedict Anderson concludes his exploration of the late 19th-century world setting of José Rizal’s explosive anti-colonial novels.
In the World-Shadow of Bismarck and Nobel
After the literary revelations of ‘Nitroglycerine in the Pomegranate’ (NLR 27), a new political reading of José Rizal’s astonishing last novel. Imperial power, anarchist bombings and anti-colonial insurrection in the gifted young Filipino’s vision of a 19th-century global landscape.
Nitroglycerine in the Pomegranate
Literary interactions between world capital and colonial periphery in the late nineteenth century—how rebel Filipino novelist José Rizal transformed elements of decadent aestheticism in Huysmans’s À Rebours, to explosive political effect.
Western Nationalism and Eastern Nationalism
Reflections from Taiwan on the history of creole and official, linguistic and long-distance nationalisms in Asia and Europe, and their implications for China. Is there any significant difference here between East and West?
Petrus Dadi Ratu
What lay behind the greatest counter-revolutionary massacre of the 20th century, the extermination of the Indonesian Left in 1965? How did the Suharto dictatorship come to power? The extraordinary testimony of a survivor on the bloody mystery at the source of its tyranny.
The Rooster’s Egg
The astonishing feat of a 23-year-old Filipino folklorist who took the newly invented discipline by storm under Spanish rule. What did patriotism mean for an Ilocano before modern nationalism; how many discrepant voices could an overseas enlightenment release?
Indonesian Nationalism Today and in the Future
Ice Empire and Ice Hockey: Two Fin de Siecle Dreams