Elfriede Jelinek wins Nobel Prize in literature

Brian Leiter and Joseph Shieber note that Elfriede Jelinek won this year’s Nobel Prize in literature. Jelinek is a major figure in German-speaking literature. Outside the German speaking world, she is mostly known for her novel The Piano Teacher (Die Klavierspielerin, 1983). But she is just as well known in the German-speaking world as a playwright. Her work is often experimental, political, feminist, and (for these reasons) very controversial in Austria. To some extent, she has taken over the role of “literary conscience” of the nation after Thomas Bernhard’s death. Her political engagement (against the right-wing Freedom Party, in particular) has earned her the title of “Nestbeschmutzerin,” which Bernhard held before her. Definitely not light reading, and definitely not Oprah Book Club material.

Coverage: Der Standard, FAZ (Babelfish), Süddeutsche (Babelfish), TAZ

Text of Jelinek’s 2003 anti-Iraq-war, anti-media play Bambiland (put on stage December 2003, at the Burgtheater, Vienna, by Christoph Schlingensief): German | English

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