The Swedish Academy and the Illusions of the Nobel Prize in Literature

14 May, 2018, 04:19 | Author: Darrell Lopez
  • Nobel Prize in jeopardy over sex scandal

The Swedish Academy has postponed the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature in the wake of a scandal over sexual assault allegations.

For the first time in nearly 70 years there will be no Nobel Literature Prize this year, as the Swedish Academy that selects the laureate finds itself in turmoil over links to a man accused of sex crimes amid the #MeToo campaign.

Yesterday morning the Swedish Academy published an official statement in which they announced the King will not hand out a Nobel Prize.

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said the decision was "regrettable" due to the prize's prestige, and he feared Sweden's reputation could take a knock.

Fans and critics will have to wait for another year to get a new Nobel Laureate in literature. Arnault, who is close with other Academy members, also co-owns with Frostenson a cultural center that received financing from the Academy. Among the most serious of the claims is an allegation that the Academy was warned about a sexual assault at Arnault's forum in 1996, but did nothing.

After a vote to exclude Frostenson failed, six members have since April stepped aside or requested to resign, including Sara Danius, the first woman to head the academy since 1786. Some members also quit over Frostenson staying on board, per the Times.

The active members of the Swedish Academy are of course fully aware that the present crisis of confidence places high demands on a long-term and robust work for change.

This literary Camelot has now been tarred by a scam that involves sexual harassment and financial impropriety, and involves academy members. Its inception followed the death of Alfred Nobel in 1896.

"In principle, the Nobel Prize shall be awarded every year, but decisions on Nobel Prizes have been postponed on a number of occasions during the history of the prizes", Heldin said.

This stems from an ongoing sexual harassment scandal surrounding French photographer Jean-Claude Arnault, who in November 2017 was accused by Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyhete of using his stature in the arts world to pressure women into sex, and of groping women - including Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria.

It may be literature's greatest honor, but the Nobel Prize has sometimes drawn negative attention to writers as well as praise.

However, the academy is now down to 10 active members while its statutes stipulate that 12 are needed to elect new members.

For the first time in 75 years, the jury will not unveil a victor this year. He also allegedly leaked the names of at least seven Nobel winners, but has denied all accusations against him.

The Academy only awards the prize for literature, so other Nobel Prizes are not affected. Recent winners include Never Let Me Go author Kazuo Ishiguro and musician Bob Dylan.

It added that the awarding of the other prizes would not be disrupted. American playwright Eugene O'Neill was awarded the 1936 prize a year later, in 1937, at the same time as that year's victor received his prize.



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