Getting the Nobel — either too early or too late

Christopher Hitchens, quotes Hemingway while writing about this year’s Literature Nobel for Doris Lessing:

It was Hemingway who first acidly pointed out that authors tend to get the big prize either too early or too late. In his own case, he compared it with swimming ashore under his own steam and then being hit over the head with a life belt.

Hitchens feels that by choosing Lessing, the Nobel committee has redeemed itself:

Almost intoxicating to see the Nobel committee do something honorable and creditable for a change … It’s as though the long, dreary reign of the forgettable and the mediocre and the sinister had been just for once punctuated by a bright flash of talent. And a flash of 88-year-old talent at that, as if the Scandinavians had guiltily remembered that they let Nabokov and Borges die (yes, die) while they doled out so many of their awards to time-servers and second-raters. Had they let this happen to Doris Lessing as well, eternal shame would have covered them. Harold Bloom might conceivably be right (actually, if it matters, I do think he is right) to say that Lessing hasn’t written much of importance for the last 15 or so years. But that’s not to say that she shouldn’t have received the Nobel laurels 20 years ago, if not sooner.

An interesting piece (which also gives some pointers to some of Lessing’s memorable pieces). Take a look!

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