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Thursday, October 13, 2005


Elfriede Jelinek - Controversial author back in the news

Violent Pornography? Certainly not
Knut Ahnlund, a member of the Swedish Academy, resigned in protest over last year's award for literature to Elfriede Jelinek ! Luke Harding in The Guardian wrote: " It was not clear last night why Ahnlund waited a year before delivering his tirade against Jelinek, who failed to turn up to collect her prize at last year's ceremony. But there was suspicion that the academy member is also unhappy about the latest choice for the 2005 Nobel prize for literature, who will be named tomorrow." Note: British playwright Harold Pinter has been named the winner of this year's award.

Knut Ahnlund described Ms Jelinek's works as "whingeing, unenjoyable, violent pornography". That there is an element of violence in pornography, enjoyable or otherwise, is indisputable but Ms Jelinek's works are not pornographic. I did not know of Elfriede Jelinek until I read about her about a year ago when she won the Nobel for 2004. I watched video of the film "The Piano Teacher", based on Jelinek's novel. Thought that it was great and I blogged about it on November 8, 2004. The books, however, were disappointing. I read "The Piano Teacher" translated by Joachim Neugroschel, and "Lust" , translated by Michael Hulse. Found them boring. It was like reading police reports. Michael Haneke, director, and Isabelle Huppert in the leading role made "The Piano Teacher" a fascinating movie. The book failed to come close. Perhaps it was the translation.

I respect Elfriede Jelinek for speaking out about sexual violence against women and for her position on Bush's war. Her play "Bambiland" is a scathing indictment of the war against Iraq.

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