Member Blogs > Books Tell You WhyVain Tenderness: A (Mostly Futile) Sully Prudhomme Reading Guide

  • Thu, 07 Sep 2017 08:00:00    Permalink
    Vain Tenderness: A (Mostly Futile) Sully Prudhomme Reading Guide

    Literary-historical karma, as ever, sides with Leo Tolstoy. When the first Nobel Prizes were awarded in 1901, the great Russian novelist was considered the frontrunner for the literary prize. When he failed to win, there was public outrage, leading a number of Swedish artists and critics to sign an apologetic letter to Tolstoy, for fear that the Nobel Committee’s decision to snub Tolstoy would reflect badly on the country’s literary tastes and worse, offend one of history’s greatest writers. Regardless of whether Tolstoy himself had any desire to win the award (he didn’t), history has largely sided with the outraged parties, continuing to venerate Tolstoy while letting cobwebs spread over the legacy of Sully Prudhomme, the first winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.  

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