On November 27, 1895, Alfred Bernhard Nobel, a famous Swedish chemist, proposed in his will to set up five reward fields: chemistry, physics, physiology or medicine, literature , and peace. Literature was placed 4th by him. In his will, Nobel said that part of the prize should be awarded to “a person who has created the best works with ideal tendencies in the literary world”.
The Nobel Prize in Literature was first awarded on December 10, 1901, the 5th anniversary of Nobel’s death. From the first award to the French writer Sully Prudum to 2022, there were 119 winners. Yeats, Roman Roland, Marquez, Bernard Shaw, Hemingway and other famous writers have all won this award.
Over the past century, many writers have left the world, but their works and writings have remained for the world to enjoy. Today, we will talk about these 119 Nobel writers and their representative works.
Annie Ernaux – The Nobel Prize in Literature 2022
At 13:00 local time on October 6, 2022, in Stockholm, Sweden, the Swedish Academy awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2022 to French writer Annie Ernaux.
Annie Ernaux grew up in the working class. In 1960, she became a reciprocal student and studied in London, England. At the same time, she began to write her first novel. She studied at the University of Rouen and the University of Bordeaux in France.
In 1967, she became a middle school teacher. In 1974, she published her first novel, Les Armoires vides.
In 1977, she worked at the French Distance Education Center. In 1983, she published the autobiographical novel The Possession and won the Le Nodo Literature Award the following year.
In 1987, she published the novel A Woman’s Story. In 1992, she published the novel Simple Passion. In 1997, she published the novel Shame.
In 2000, she retired from the French Distance Education Center. In the same year, she published the novel La Vie extérieure.
In 2003, she published the novel Happening. In 2009, she published the novel The Years, which was rated as one of the “20 outstanding works of the year” by the French magazine “Reading“, and was awarded the Best Foreign Novel of the 21st Century 2009 by the People’s Literature Publishing House.
In November 2021, she won the International Writer Lifetime Honor Award of the Royal Society of Literature.
Representative works of Annie Ernaux
1. The Years (French Edition: Les Années)
The Years won the “Duras Prize for Literature” in France after it published
The author of this book describes the growth of a person from childhood to old age for more than 60 years and the changes of the times with her creative writing style.
Like an old photo album, it awakens people’s collective memory, restores the true meaning of history, and reflects the passage of time and the evolution of the world.
This book is regarded as the author’s autobiography. In 1940, Anne Elnor was born into a poor family, and her account of World War II constituted her earliest childhood memories.
In the book, each stage of life will be opened through a photo or a video, followed by the hero’s experience, thoughts, and thoughts as an individual in this particular stage of life, as well as the major events of the French society and the whole world at that time.
After reading, we can see the changes in individuals and the world spanning more than 70 years.
The author uses a very innovative approach to integrate the personal experience at the micro level with the world change at the macro level.
She always starts from her personal feelings, does not focus on describing the actual impact of the changes in the macro world on individuals, nor tries to explain it, but focuses on showing how individuals, as ordinary people, consciously perceive and experience these changes.
2.Simple Passion (French Edition: Passion simple)
Annie Ernaux records the desire and shame of a human soul trapped in passion with her simple and plain style. She blurs the boundary between fact and fiction, trys to describe the emotional and physical process of her two-year relationship with a married man.
Every word, event and person in it will establish contact with her beloved, or be treated coldly by her.
With courage and preciseness, Ernaux sought the truth behind an existence that once existed entirely for others.
3. Happening (French Edition: L’Evénement)
In 1963, Annie Ernaux, 23-year-old and unmarried, realized that she was pregnant. Shame appeared on her like a plague: she knew that her pregnancy would make her and her family a symbol of social failure, and she knew that she could not feed the child.
This is a story, written 40 years later, tells the trauma that Ernaux never overcame. In France, where abortion was illegal, she tried to abort herself with a knitting needle, but in vain. Because of fear and despair, she finally found an abortion doctor and nearly died in the hospital emergency room.
In the book Happening, Ernaux carefully combed his memory and diary entries of those days. Obviously, she clearly understood the significance of her experience.
4. Getting Lost (French Edition: Se perdre)
Getting Lost is a diary written by Annie Ernaux for one and a half years. She had a secret relationship with a young married Russian diplomat. Her novel Simple Passion based on this, but her writing is direct and unfiltered in this book.
Her lover fled the city and met her there. Ernaux seemed to survive when he expected these encounters. She said: “His desire for me is the only thing I can be sure of”. She lives just to feel the desire and the next date. When he left, her desire faded, and she felt closer to death.
Here, Ernaux is praised for her concise prose. She has removed all skills, and her work has been cut to the most bare and vulnerable part. Like any book she wrote, Getting Lost is about a strong and successful woman who seduces a man but loses herself in love and desire.
5. A Woman’s Story (French Edition: Une Femme)
A Woman’s Story is Annie Ernaux‘s touching account of mother and daughter, youth and aging, dream and reality.
After her mother died of Alzheimer, the author began a terrible journey back in time. She tried to capture the real woman, who existed independently of her daughter, the woman who was born in Normandy town and died in the geriatric ward of a Paris suburb hospital.
She explores the fragile and unshakable bond between mothers and daughters, the alienated world that separates them, and the inescapable fact that we will eventually lose those we love.
In this calm and powerful tribute, Ernaux wants to strive for the justice for her mother. As the author said: “Now I write about my mother, just like it’s my turn to let my mother be born again.”
6. A Girl’s Story (French Edition: Mémoire de fille)
In the book A Girl’s Story, Annie Ernaux reviewed her experience as a summer camp instructor in Normandy in the summer of 1958 and told about her first night with a man.
When he moved on, she realized that she had given her will to him, like a conqueror without a master. Six years later, the author finds that she can erase the years in between and recall the young girl she once wanted to forget completely.
Bringing the indelible memory of that summer into reality, Elnor found that the importance and painful origin of her writing career was based on shame, violence and betrayal.
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