Elfriede Jelinek receives Nobel Prize

Elfriede Jelinkek, photo from Nobel siteThe 2004 Nobel Prize in Literature has gone to Elfriede Jelinek, an Austrian novelist, poet, playwright, and translator. For the Chronicle of Higher Education, Scott McLemee writes:

Her satirical and often dark vision of sexuality and human aggression has made her a controversial figure in Austria. The author is best known internationally for her novel The Piano Teacher, made into a harrowing film about a sadomasochistic relationship between a music instructor and a student who seduces her.

In its award citation, the Swedish Royal Academy noted that Ms. Jelinek’s work analyzes “the cold-blooded practice of male power,” making a “fundamental criticism of civilization by describing sexual violence against women as the actual template for our culture.” There may be an element of self-criticism in the academy’s decision, for Ms. Jelinek is only the 10th woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature since the award was first presented, in 1901.

The female Nobel in Literature recipients are: Selma Ottilia Lovisa Lagerlof (1909), Grazia Deledda (1926), Sigrid Undset (1928), Pearl Buck (1938), Gabriela Mistral (1945), Nelly Sachs (1966), Nadine Gordimer(1991), Toni Morrison (1993), Wislawa Szymborska (1996), and Elfriede Jelinek (2004).


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