The key is in the last paragraph. I quote: "...words pulled from the citations of recent Nobel Prize winners: Revolt, visionary, clash, oppression, subjugating, outsider, barbaric, suppressed." He goes beyond, apparently outside the Nobel citations, to close with "universal."
This always makes me so damn mad I could chew nails. According to this joker, only novels about the revolution of the oppressed against their masters (colonial or otherwise) are worthy of the Nobel and are "universal."
This is poppycock. First, I have not experienced the need to rise up and fight the oppressors, so a novel on that subject's supposed "universality" does not apply to me, nor does it apply to the vast majority of readers in Western Europe, Japan, etc. Not that I haven't enjoyed novels on this type of subject. But I strongly reject the notion that it is the only type of novel worthy of a Nobel.
He really steps over the line when he decides that writers who are neither white nor male can be Great Male Narcissists, including Jhumpa Lahiri, Amy Tan, and Colson Whitehead. When you boil it down, the argument runs that novels that are essentially domestic drams of middle class life are somehow unworthy. Apparently the oppressed in the Third World can't relate to them (as though they had money to acquire books or are even able to read.) To hell with Jane Austen, George Eliot, Flaubert, or the Tolstoy of "Anna Karenina!" Not relevant to the International Struggle. I'm sure that those writers would be "Narcissists" if they lived today and wrote the same sort of novels that they wrote then.
The argument that American literature is "too isolated, too insular" is nonsense. If I can read novels about ancient Chinese warriors, or Indian chauffeurs, or 17th century plague victims, or, hell, cats, then surely the Western Europeans can relate to domestic dramas about contemporary Americans who lead lives very similar to their European counterparts.
Personally, I don't think that Roth is worthy, but that's simply because I have never read a novel by him that I thought was very good. Oates I have not read extensively. I remeber that "them" blew me away 40 years ago, but I have not closely followed her career. DeLillo, McCarthy, and Pynchon are simply not the kind of novelists that the article is excoriating.
This is just the "Not-Dead" White Male argument that has been popular since the multiculturalists attacked the Canon in the Sixties. They probably would have hesitated to give the Nobel to Shakespeare. Isn't The Merchant of Venice antisemitic? And isn't Othello both racist and too "domestic"? Feh!
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