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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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Best Books on Ireland

By Audrey Golden. Aug 31, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Nobel Prize Winners, Literary travel

Are you visiting Dublin or the Irish countryside anytime soon? Do you want to learn more about the history of modern Irish literature? Are you traveling to Belfast in the near future? If you answered with an emphatic 'yes!' to any of our questions, or if you’re interested in literary travel from the comfort of your sofa through a well-written novel, then we have some reading recommendations for you.

     
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Nelson Mandela's Literary Influence

By Brian Hoey. Jul 18, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Nobel Prize Winners

The enormity of Nelson Mandela’s influence on the world is undeniable. He fought for years against apartheid in South Africa, suffering a long imprisonment and a constant stream of indignities en route to dismantling the South African National Party’s legally codified racism, becoming the first black president of South Africa, and winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Given the number of lives he touched in carrying out his work, it should come as little surprise that his influence has extended beyond politics and human rights to the world of literature.

     
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Visiting Czesław Miłosz’s Home in Kraków

By Audrey Golden. Jul 13, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Poetry, Nobel Prize Winners, Literary travel

Given that Kraków, Poland is a UNESCO City of Literature, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Kraków is where the Nobel Prize-winning poet Czesław Miłosz (pronounced CHESS-wahf MEE-wosh) made his home until his death in 2004. Indeed, in addition to national presses, there are numerous independent book publishers located throughout Kraków, and there are nearly 80 bookstores throughout the city. Moreover, the city hosts international books fairs and literary festivals on an annual basis, including the Miłosz Festival, which honors the late poet and brings literary guests to the city every June. If you’re hoping to visit Miłosz’s home, you won’t find a museum space like those dedicated to many other writers in cities across the world. However, you can still stand outside the apartment building where the Nobel Prize winner lived, and you can experience the city of Kraków largely as Miłosz would have seen it in the final years of his life.

     
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Getting to Know Nobel Laureate Verner von Heidenstam

By Leah Dobrinska. Jul 6, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Nobel Prize Winners

The Nobel committee is known for its “prize motivation” citations when it awards its coveted Prizes each year. We hear these short snippets in articles and press releases about each winner, and they serve their purpose well: they are brief snapshots of why the winner won. While Nobel Prize in Literature winners are chosen based on the entire body of their work, in some cases, the committee cites a specific example. For example, in 1954 when Ernest Hemingway won, the committee said it was “for his mastery of the art of narrative, most recently demonstrated in The Old Man and the Sea…” On the opposite end of the spectrum, sometimes the prize motivation is much, much more over-arching. Case in point: when Carl Gustaf Verner von Heidenstam won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1916, the Nobel committee said he was awarded “in recognition of his significance as the leading representative of a new era in our literature.” This is certainly high praise, but also quite general. Who was Verner von Heidenstam? What did he write, and how did he lead us into a new era of literature?

     
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Happy Birthday, Wisława Szymborska!

By Audrey Golden. Jul 2, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Poetry, Literature, Nobel Prize Winners

If Wisława Szymborska (pronounced vees-WAH-vah shim-BOR-ska) were still alive today, she would celebrate her 94th birthday on July 2. Symborska passed away in February 2012, but she remains a remarkably prominent poet both in her native Poland as well as in various translations throughout the world. She won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1996, and her work has been translated into dozens of languages. To celebrate her birthday this summer, we thought we’d tell you a little bit more about the poet and introduce you to some of our favorite works.

     
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Best Books on Cuba

By Audrey Golden. Jun 8, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Literature, Nobel Prize Winners, Literary travel

As you may know, former President Obama’s announcement of an opening of U.S. relations with Cuba occurred in December 2014. The United States had not had an embassy in the country since 1961, the year of the Bay of Pigs Invasion that occurred two years after the Cuban Revolution through which Fidel Castro came to power in the nation. Until former Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to the country during the Obama presidency, no U.S. secretary of state had traveled to Cuba for over 50 years. Now that it is more “open,” so to speak, for American visitors, we thought you might be interested in expanding your knowledge of Cuban literature. We have some recommendations for the best books on Cuba.

     
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Getting to Know Nobel Laureate Karl Adolph Gjellerup

By Andrea Diamond. Jun 2, 2017. 9:00 AM.

Topics: Nobel Prize Winners

One of the highlights of my college years was the semester I spent abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark. During my time there, I took a course titled “Danish Language and Culture.” While the language never found a home in me (I provided hours of free entertainment to my host family as I struggled through my homework each evening), the culture was absolutely fascinating. We learned about Danish contributors to art, design, philosophy, science, and literature, and examined their impact on the country as a whole. One of the cultural entrepreneurs briefly (and a bit harshly) discussed was Karl Adolph Gjellerup, Danish poet, artist, author, and Nobel Prize winner.

     
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How can I identify a first edition? Where do I learn about caring for books? How should I start collecting? Hear from librarians about amazing collections, learn about historic bindings or printing techniques, get to know other collectors. Whether you are just starting or looking for expert advice, chances are, you'll find something of interest on blogis librorum.

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