The Dark Shadow Shrine

If u think u need extra coaching in General Paper/English/Literature at the 'O'/'A'/International Baccalaureate level, the gates of my shrine are always open.....Drop me a note at or wadsapp me at 91384570 for more Singapore only hor.... :-)

Monday, May 07, 2018

The Nobel Prize for Literature is a scandal all by itself

Click HERE;
If cannot access link, click HERE instead.

There is a point in this article that I raised in class last Sat....that u cannot compare apples with oranges in certain competitions, the arts (which include music and literature) is one of them....u can compare which one is more popular, but it will be hard -- near impossible -- to come to a conclusion as to which is the better piece, or the better singer (unless they are performing/singing the same piece/song). Who is to say Shakespeare's works are better than "Dreams of the Red Chamber" or "The Water Margin" or "Romance of the Three Kingdoms" or "Journey to the West"?
BUT this becomes possible if there is a common ground that they are competing on e.g. Michael Jordon or Yao Ming.....coz they are competing on the same game with the same rules and the exact same skills are tested.....So if the point is that winning is important as proof of one's ability, it is not really that convincing when it comes to the arts, coz the winner cannot be said convincingly to be the better writer than others who wrote in a different language, of a different cultural context.....hence, awards like the  Nobel Prize is meaningless if one's aim in winning it is to prove one's ability, coz for those who do not win eventually, it does not mean they are not good writers.

Literature is not tennis or football, where international competition makes sense. It is intimately tied to the language and culture from which it emerges. Literary style distinguishes itself by its distance from the other styles that surround it, implying a community of readers with a shared knowledge of other literary works, of standard language usage and cultural context.
What sense does it make for a group from one culture - be it Swedish, American, Nigerian or Japanese - to seek to compare a Bolivian poet with a Korean novelist, an American singer-songwriter with a Russian playwright, and so on? Why would we even want them to do that?
Qn: "Winning is everything." Do you agree?