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New Translations from the Margellos World Republic of Letters

By Audrey Golden. Nov 10, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Poetry, Literature, Nobel Prize Winners

Have you been hoping that an exciting book written in a language other than English will find an English-language translator? Or were you recently thinking that a work of “classic” literature could use a new and updated English-language translation? The Cecile and Theodore Margellos World Republic of Letters series, published by Yale University Press, might be exactly what you’ve been seeking. The series describes itself as one that “identifies works of cultural and artistic significance previously overlooked by translators and publishers, canonical works of literature and philosophy needing new translations, as well as important contemporary authors whose work has not yet been translated into English.” The Margellos series ultimately is “designed to bring to the English-speaking world leading poets, novelists, essayists, philosophers, and playwrights from Europe, Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, to stimulate international discourse and creative exchange.”

Sounds great, right? There are currently more than seven dozen books in the series, with more forthcoming. We have some recommendations of our favorites for you to browse.

     
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Five Facts About Albert Camus, the Coolest of Philosophers

By Matt Reimann. Nov 7, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Nobel Prize Winners

Few thinkers have managed to make philosophy look cool. But within this rare breed, the photogenic, soccer-loving, provocative, and concise Albert Camus may be most eminent. With short and mystifying novels like The Stranger, and profound explorations like The Myth of Sisyphus, Camus’s philosophy was like a rallying cry for a generation of writers confused and traumatized by the Second World War. It was an elevated position that would win Camus the Nobel Prize in 1957, just two and a half years before his untimely death in a car accident at the age of 46.

     
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Ivan Bunin: The Masterful Nobel Laureate Who Should Be Famous Beyond Russia

By Matt Reimann. Oct 10, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Nobel Prize Winners

When Russian filmmakers delivered to the state censors a screenplay for a biopic about the writer Ivan Bunin, they were immediately shut down. Their objection was not to Bunin’s controversial work, but rather the film’s treatment of him: their saintly Nobel laureate portrayed as an egotistical, philandering, drunken, emotionally reckless artist. This portrait was not too exaggerated, but the film ministry was clear. They could not allow a movie to deface the image of one of Russia’s most prized artists.

     
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Notable Nobel Prize Firsts

By Adrienne Rivera. Oct 7, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Poetry, Literature, Nobel Prize Winners

In 1895, Alfred NobelSwedish chemist, philanthropist, and inventor of dynamitedied. In his will, Nobel dedicated the bulk of his massive estate toward awarding five yearly prizes. This, then, is how the Nobel Prizes in Chemistry, Physical Science, Medicine, Peace, and Literature were born.

The Nobel Prize in Literature is awarded annually to a writer whose body of work represents a standard of excellence and that moves literature as a whole into an “ideal” direction. Though every year the committee's interpretation of the word “ideal” has held different meanings, in most recent times it has seemed to mean work that focuses on humanitarianism. The Nobel Prize in Literature is the most prestigious literary award in the world, with the committee considering writers from any nation producing work in any language. The winner is chosen each year in October. Last year's winner, singer and songwriter Bob Dylan, was the first musician ever awarded literature's most famous prize. The announcement caused an uproar in the literary community and prompted discussion on the true meaning of the world “literature” and on the place of songs within the overall cannon. With the one year anniversary of that controversial choice and this year's winner, Kazuo Ishiguro, recently announced, it's a perfect time to look back on other notable Nobel Prize in Literature firsts.

     
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Congratulations to the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature Winner, Kazuo Ishiguro!

By Leah Dobrinska. Oct 5, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Nobel Prize Winners

It's that glorious time of year again! After almost a week of Nobel Prize announcements, the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature was announced today at 1:00p.m. local time in Sweden. The 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to Kazuo Ishiguro "who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world".

     
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Best Books from Japan

By Audrey Golden. Oct 3, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Nobel Prize Winners, Literary travel

Are you interested in reading more Japanese literature, or are you traveling to Kyoto or Tokyo soon? We have some book recommendations for you.

     
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Boris Pasternak and the Lost Story of Lara

By Audrey Golden. Sep 27, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Book History, Nobel Prize Winners

Maybe you’ve read Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago or you’ve seen the film of the same name from 1965, directed by David Lean and starring Omar Sharif and Julie Christie. Or perhaps you’re familiar with “Lara’s Theme,” the song from the movie. At any rate, we bet you’re at least a little bit familiar with the love affair between the fictional characters of Yuri and Lara. A new book by Anna Pasternak, the granddaughter of Boris’s sister Josephine, reveals details of the love affair between Boris Pasternak and Olga Ivinskaya, which served as the inspiration for the novel. The book is entitled Lara: the Untold Love Story and the Inspiration for Doctor Zhivago. It was released in January 2017.

     
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Five Interesting Facts About T.S. Eliot

By Brian Hoey. Sep 26, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Poetry, Nobel Prize Winners

To call T.S. Eliot the most important English-language poet of the 20th century doesn’t feel like too much of a stretch. His 1948 Nobel Prize is just one indicator of the lasting impact that poems like ‘The Waste Land’ (1922) and ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’ (1915) have to this day, and will no doubt continue to have as long as there are English professors and recreational readers of poetry in the world. In spite, or perhaps because, of the influence of Eliot’s poetry on the Anglophone poetic landscape, the man himself has remained something of an enigma since his death in 1965. Here are five things you may not know about T.S. Eliot.

     
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A Brief Introduction to Frédéric Mistral

By Andrea Diamond. Sep 8, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Nobel Prize Winners

In 1830, in the small town of Maillane, France, Frédéric Mistral was born to François Mistral and Adelaide Poulinet. His parents were wealthy, which afforded Frédéric the opportunity to receive a great education (though he was known for playing hooky as a child). After graduating with his bachelor’s degree, Mistral went on to study law until 1851. While Mistral was passionate about this field, his true gift was more literary. Greatly inspired by one of his teachers, Joseph Roumanille, Mistral became a masterful poet. 

     
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Vain Tenderness: A (Mostly Futile) Sully Prudhomme Reading Guide

By Brian Hoey. Sep 7, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Poetry, Nobel Prize Winners

Literary-historical karma, as ever, sides with Leo Tolstoy. When the first Nobel Prizes were awarded in 1901, the great Russian novelist was considered the frontrunner for the literary prize. When he failed to win, there was public outrage, leading a number of Swedish artists and critics to sign an apologetic letter to Tolstoy, for fear that the Nobel Committee’s decision to snub Tolstoy would reflect badly on the country’s literary tastes and worse, offend one of history’s greatest writers. Regardless of whether Tolstoy himself had any desire to win the award (he didn’t), history has largely sided with the outraged parties, continuing to venerate Tolstoy while letting cobwebs spread over the legacy of Sully Prudhomme, the first winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.  

     
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