Overwhelmed in recent years, whether because of a sexual assault scandal or the controversial choice of crowning musician Bob Dylan, the Swedish Academy, in search of redemption, is preparing to hand two Nobel Prize winners for literature .
Exit Purgatory where had thrown a scandal of sexual assault revealed at the top of the #MeToo movement, the Swedish Academy must exceptionally announce Thursday the names of two Nobel Prize winners of literature.
One for 2018 and the other for 2019, they will have to forget to his critics the coronation of Bob Dylan in 2016 and that of the purchase - for some too consensual - of Kazuo Ishiguro in 2017.
The Academy, deprived of the quorum of sitting members provided for in its bylaws to nominate a Nobel laureate, had to give up last year, and postpone the announcement for a year, for the first time since the Second World War.
After chain resignations and the intervention of the king to reform the statutes, the guardians of the temple, their lost illusions, aspire to close the book of a fatal human comedy and to speak henceforth only of prose and verse.
From verse, and especially from prose. As every year since 1901, the salons rustle with a host of names, even though the academy keeps secret until the last moment the vote of its 18 members, and give pride to the novelists. As evidenced by the Nobel prize list.
Frenchwoman Maryse Condé, Kenyan Ngugi Wa Thiong'o and Canadian Anne Carson - a poet! - hold the rope. Since the creation of the award in 1901, only 14 women - no French - have been distinguished, out of a total of 114 recipients.
Laureates 2018 and 2019 to be announced in Stockholm on Thursday
The names of the Nobel Laureates of Literature must be announced Thursday at 1 pm (11 am GMT).
Critics questioned by AFP predict consensual choices, including that of at least one woman, perhaps the Chinese Can Xue, the Russian Lioudmila Ulitskaya, the American Joyce Carol Oates, or the Polish Olga Tokarczuk.
The literature prize has honored only 14 women per 100 men since the creation of the Nobel in 1901.
Among the men are the names of the Romanian poet and novelist Mircea Cartarescu, the Japanese Haruki Murakami, the Frenchman Milan Kundera, but also the Italian Claudio Magris, the Portuguese Antonio Lobo Antunes, or the American Don DeLillo.
For Svante Weyler, writer and former publisher, the Academy and the prize can regain their nobility "but only by a judicious choice of the laureates" .
According to him, the academy "will opt for authors of a certain classicism, enjoying for one a great consideration in the literary circles, and for the other favors of the public. to provoke a political controversy , " he predicts.
Gravedigger of the academy
France, more than any other nation, has often had the honor of academicians since the creation of the Nobel, awarded for the first time in 1901 to the poet Sully Prudhomme. It currently has 15 laureates.
And it is by a Frenchman that came the scandal, in November 2017, when 18 women (as much as academicians) testifying in the big daily Dagens Nyheter accused of harassment, sexual assault and rape a personality of the Stockholm cultural world.
This personality is Jean-Claude Arnault, owner of a run underground club of the capital, where the aristocracy of arts and thought drunk on Proust Sunday and wine.
Married to an academician, Jean-Claude Arnault received generous subsidies from the academy, boasted of being the "19th member" and, according to witnesses, whispered the names of future Nobel laureates to his friends.
Sometimes described as a "gravedigger of the Academy" , he was finally sentenced to two and a half years in prison for rape.
Beyond its purely judicial aspect, the case revealed the stale closed of an institution eaten up by intrigues and prebends, insulting the national narrative of a Lutheran kingdom built on the values of transparency, probity and equality.
The Swedish Academy, created in 1786 on the model of its French elder, was reduced to ashes by opprobrium, the battles of influence and the gazette pamphlets exchanged as bellows between hussars of the old guard and dragoons of the over.
The burden of rehabilitation now falls to Mats Malm, elected new perpetual secretary.
This university professor, historian of literature, must ensure that the "Svenska Akademien" strictly observes the testament of Alfred Nobel who intends to honor "the person who has produced in the literary field the work of idealistic inspiration the most remarkable .
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