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“I Wish to God That My Request Will Be Successful! It Would Be the Greatest Joy of My Life”

Reconstructing the Hidden Tracks of Nobel Prize Nomination Campaigns

In: Journal of World Literature
Authors:
Daniela Link Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf Germany

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https://orcid.org/0009-0000-2787-2704
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Nils Hansson Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf Germany

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https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0167-4763
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Abstract

Following the lead of historiography on credit and prestige in literature, this article considers reputation and recognition not as inherent qualities of an author, but as the result of the process of attribution. In particular, drawing on nomination letters and evaluations by the Swedish Academy, it focusses on the staging of brilliance and impact in Nobel Prize nominations. Using the examples of the German authors Georg Bonne, Hermann Türck and Arno Holz, we reconstruct and discuss ‘Nobel nomination campaigns’. The dossiers reveal what the Nobel Prize nomination process looked like behind the scenes, how their nominators enacted them, and why they ultimately did not receive the award. One a more general level, we discuss the influence Nobel campaigns have and what literary and social fields they affect.

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