Sunday, December 25, 2016

Kostelanetz Memorandum (part III)

In the third and final installment, Richard reflects on the Nobel Prize for Literature:
   As some of you have asked about why the Nobel Literature prize went to another male writer born in the USA, consider that was told more than a decade ago, on the trusted authority of someone in Sweden, that the next American-born male recipient would NOT be a writer benefitting from the literary-industrial complex, as I called it years ago, which a sometime chairman of the Nobel selection committee repeatedly deprecated, and thus that the Nobel folk wanted to reward an American writer earning prominence/elite recognitions apart from it. Acknowledging as well their general respect for people disadvantaged, I understood that the possible recipients included me.
   Perhaps because my most memorable electro-acoustic compositions were produced in Stockholm, some people there were aware of my attempts, unique among name writers, to produce work wholly my own on audiotape, videotape, film, book-art, and holography, as well as exploring more recent opportunities as a CD-rom and on-demand printing.
   My own calculation shared with others, given my understanding of how the Nobel Lit process worked (see my Person of Letters), was that Noam Chomsky might precede me if the inner committee of five nominated him to be among the finalists, even though he has never published any poetry or fiction. (Remember that the previous recent recipient was a Russian woman likewise working on the fringes of "literature.")
   I did not predict Bob Dylan, though he, of course, fits the mandate, even though he could be considered a bountiful beneficiary of the musical-industrial complex.
    What changed in Stockholm? The new secretary/chief of the inner circle, according to the Nobel website, was no longer a literature professor working in Denmark, who reportedly knew and maybe admired my work, but a newspaper publisher no doubt attuned to a choice that would be recognized in newspapers, as it was, even if Bob Dylan refused to acknowledge it.
   Am I still in the mix? Perhaps, if the committee wants to reaffirm the principle(s) noted before. Stay tuned.
   And please have a rich year next.  RK

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