The Playgoer: The Nobel Dramatists Club

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Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Nobel Dramatists Club

Update: I apologize for not fact-checking this awfully incomplete AP list. As this complete history of Nobel Literature laureates shows, Pinter is not the "10th" but more like the 20th, depending on who you count.
Some omissions are disconertingly non-western (or I should say non-white) and others are actually major 20th century Europeans. And by major I mean like Shaw! (1925). The other glaring omits are: Derek Walcott , '92; Wole Soyinka, '86; Jean-Paul Sartre, '64; John Galsworthy, 32; WB Yeats, '23; and Knut Hamsun, '20. You can also make a case for some writers who at least dabbled in the drama: T.S. Eliot, Gunter Grass, Camus, Andre Gide. Hell, even Saul Bellow wrote a play. (free subsciption to Playgoer for whoever knows the title!)
So are the AP staffers just that drama illiterate? Or is such the nature of insta-journalism?

Since I know you were wondering...

From the AP (courtesy NYT):

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) -- Harold Pinter, who won the 2005 Nobel Prize in literature Thursday, is the 10th playwright to win the honor, according to the Swedish Academy, which has given the awards annually since 1901:
-- Harold Pinter, Britain (2005)
-- Dario Fo, Italy (1997)
-- Samuel Beckett, Ireland (1969)
-- Eugene O'Neill, United States (1936)
-- Luigi Pirandello, Italy (1934)
-- Grazia Deledda, Italy (1926)
-- Jacinto Benavente, Spain (1922)
-- Gerhart Johann Robert Hauptmann, Germany (1912)
-- Count Maurice Polidore Marie Bernhard Maeterlinck, Belgium (1911)
-- Jose Echegaray y Eizaguirre, Spain (1904)

Ok, I'll go first and admit I'm not really as up on my Deledda as I should be. As for Benavente and Echegaray, let's just say--to use the academic's favorite cover--"it's been a while since I've read them."
I plead guilty to the cultural/linguistic insularity which marks the English language theatre...

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