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Monday, May 21, 2018

Thornton P. Knowles On Literary Awards

Literary awards are lightening rods for controversy. In the history of the Nobel Prize For Literature, there are numerous examples of great writers passed over for their mediocre counterparts. In 1901, for example, Leo Tolstoy lost to a writer named Sully Prudhomme. Other great writers who have not won the prize include Marcel Proust, Henry James, and Joseph Conrad. While many writers scorn literary awards, few ever turn them down. In 1926, Sinclair Lewis refused the Pulitzer Prize for his novel Arrowsmith, but only because he was miffed about not winning it earlier for Main Street. Four years later, however, he accepted the Nobel Prize, becoming the first American so honored. In winning the Nobel, Lewis beat out Theodore Dreiser. Many American writers and critics considered Lewis' selection an insult, believing that Lewis had been awarded the prize because his novels were so critical of American culture.

Thornton P. Knowles 

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