Thursday, October 07, 2010

SOMETHING TO CELEBRATE. Mario Vargas Llosa has won the Nobel Prize for Literature, and good for him. Rightbloggers are ecstatic, but mainly on political grounds. "A consistent voice against repression wherever he finds it and an eloquent champion of freedom in all its manifestations," declares Nick Gillespie. Donald Douglas is happy that the laureate doesn't like Che Guevara. The American Enterprise Institute proudly reproduces part of his Irving Kristol Award acceptance speech. Tyler Cowen seems to have actually read Llosa's fiction, but he's a special case.

Jay Nordlinger at National Review is very happy because while many previous laureates have been "anti-Americans, Communists, and other anti-democrats," and only won because "politics, particularly leftism, has seemed more important than literary quality" to the Committee heretofore, today's winner is "an advocate of a free economy." The judges must have caught freedom fever in the interim. (Nordlinger adds that Llosa is a "fine writer," but seems to consider this the gravy rather than the meat.)

This is the flip side of the pants-shitting rage that conservatives came out with when Harold Pinter won the Prize in 2005. Everything to them is politics, and for the most part they only get interested in literature when it serves their usual tedious yay-boo.

So far coverage from mainstream media outlets and liberal sites has been appropriately respectful and laudatory, as you might expect. It's gotten me interested in Llosa's work, with which I am only glancingly acquainted. Your recommendations for further reading would be appreciated.

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