Friday, October 12, 2007

The 2007 Nobel Prize for Literature ...

The 2007 Nobel Prize for literature has gone to the British author Doris. Lessing is the 11th woman to win literature's most prestigious prize in its 106-year history. She is best known for her 1962 postmodern feminist masterpiece, 'The Golden Notebook'.

What more could a literary genius ask as a birthday gift. Lessing now just short of 11 days to touch the milestone of her 88th birthday, is the oldest person to have been awarded the prize, a title previously held by Theodor Mommsen, who was 85 when he won the award in 1902. Also if you see the trend, Lessing's award makes this the second time in three years that the award has gone to a British author, the other being Harold Pinter's in 2005. Last year, it was awarded to the Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk.

Guess this grand old lady of literature, herself was a bit surprised when she learnt about the laurel that was conferred on her.
Ms. Lessing learned of the news from a group of reporters camped on her doorstep as she returned from a visit to the hospital with her son. "I was a bit surprised because I had forgotten about it actually," she said. "My name has been on the short list for such a long time."

As the persistent sound of her phone ringing came from inside the house, Ms. Lessing said that on second thought, she was not as surprised "because this has been going on for something like 40 years," referring to the number of times she has been mentioned as a likely honoree. "Either they were going to give it to me sometime before I popped off or not at all."

After a few moments, Ms. Lessing, who is stout, sharp and a bit hard of hearing, excused herself to go inside. "Now I’m going to go in to answer my telephone," she said. "I swear I’m going upstairs to find some suitable sentences, which I will be using from now on."
Source: New York Times

Lessing’s life has been a kaleidoscope. Born on 22 October 1919 to British parents in Kermanshah in Persia (now Bakhtaran in Iran). Her father, Alfred Cook Taylor, was a bank official and her mother, Emily Maude Taylor, had been a nurse. In the course of her journey from childhood till date she has moved from Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) to Salisbury, and many places in between before settling in London. She has an interesting personality having dabbled with different firmaments. Someone who ended her formal schooling at the age of 14 and in the following years she worked as a young nanny, telephone operator, office worker, stenographer and journalist. Someone who had several short stories published.

Just see the orbits of life, she has touched and so its not surprising to learn the theme of relations between men and women which form the lifeline of the dozens of novels, short stories, and essays that she has scripted. Now on the verge of touching 88, she approximately belongs to same generation of maestro as filmmakers Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo Antonioni, both died a couple of months back. These are a bunch of people who are a league apart and are institutions in their own way. Like the masters of camera and light who explored social, psychological, and sexual malaise in their motion pictures, this lady used her quill to explore those themes and subjects.

Happy Birthday Lessing and you deserved the Nobel Prize.

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