Thursday, January 12, 2012

No Gong For Ron

This story is all over the Internet.  As the 1961 papers of the Nobel Prize committee have been released, they reveal that the committee turned down the nomination of J.R.R. Tolkien for the Nobel Prize for Literature: he had been nominated by C.S. Lewis.

The committee did not consider the writer worthy of the prize because they considered his prose bad and his work "has not in any way measured up to storytelling of the highest quality".  So in plain language: he can't write nor can he tell a good story, so no prize. 

Well, posterity has proved the committee wrong on one of those points - he was an excellent storyteller - his prose may not be consistently perfect, but his ability to create new worlds and enchant the imagination is unparalleled.

I have little time for the Nobel Prizes - a number of rewards in recent years reveal that the committee favours a particular agenda and usually picks its laureates in the light of that agenda - hence they gave Barack Obama the Peace Prize just after he was elected - for doing nothing. 

Blessed John Paul II had been nominated for the Peace Prize many times for his role in bringing down communism and his work for human rights and dignity, but one of the members of the committee said in an interview, which I heard, that they will never give John Paul the prize, not until he changes the Church's teaching on contraception and sexual ethics.  There's objectivity for you.  Needless to say the Blessed Pontiff was not so easily bought.

I imagine the committee have since repented of giving the Peace Prize to Blessed Mother Teresa: her acceptance speech pleading for the lives of the unborn in the face of the culture of death must have put them out.

As regard their attitude to Tolkien, it is not unusual. Academia has tended to look down its nose at him and would not consider his work to be literature in any shape or form.  Yet The Lord of the Rings saga is one of the most enduring works in the English language, and though, perhaps, not in the same league in terms of literary merit as Shakespeare and Dante, his work ranks alongside them in terms of readership, popularity and its legacy.

That said, here is something which I have just come across - a movie based on the appendix of The Lord of the Rings, made in 2008.  It is set in the Third Age and tells the story of the rise of Sauron and the birth of Aragorn, Born of Hope.  It is on the net and available there for free.  I am embedding the movie in this post, so if you have time you can watch it - I have not seen all of it myself, but I hope I will get time later.  So something to tide us over until The Hobbit (Part 1) comes out at Christmas.

1 comment:

  1. It's worth noting that this film "Born of Hope" is completely fan made and fan funded!