Diasporic Papers

Nobel Laureates and the Global Archive Economy

In: Journal of World Literature
Tim Sommer University of Passau Passau Germany

Search for other papers by Tim Sommer in
Current site
Google Scholar
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution


Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):



This article explores the impact of the Nobel Prize in Literature on the acquisition policies of literary archives. Focusing on laureates and the twenty-first-century fate of their manuscripts, it argues that the international reach of the prize is mirrored by a contemporary archival landscape that is at once global and unequal. Although many archives concentrate on collecting material from the linguistic and cultural context of which they themselves form part, the past two decades have also seen the emergence of a competitive international market for the papers of authors whose writings are marked – through high-profile distinctions such as the Nobel Prize – as belonging to the world literary canon. Illustrating its larger argument with the help of three case studies (Harold Pinter, J.M. Coetzee, Gabriel García Márquez), the article suggests that archivization consecrates laureates’ papers as global heritage at the same time that it reinforces the logic of literary nativism.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 160 160 28
Full Text Views 9 9 2
PDF Views & Downloads 30 30 6