Interesting Literature

Yesterday, we looked at Jean-Paul Sartre’s first play, and what was unexpected and Christmassy about it. That yielded us a surprising Christmas-themed literature fact concerning Sartre. Sartre is famous for, among other things, being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1964 but refusing it. (Sartre said that ‘a writer should not allow himself to be turned into an institution’.) Today’s writer had the opposite Nobel experience: although he was nominated for the honour by his friend C. S. Lewis, his work was turned down on the grounds of poor storytelling.

That writer was J. R. R. Tolkien. The idea that, in the words of the Nobel Prize committee, Tolkien’s work  ‘has not in any way measured up to storytelling of the highest quality’ would surprise many of his millions of devoted Hobbit2readers. Especially, one suspects, a fair few of the devoted fans of his work who will be eagerly…

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