Nobel Prize Award for Literature 1923 to 1925

About the Nobel Prize Award for Literature 1923 to 1925 including the authors such as Yeats and George Bernard Shaw, their works, and history.


1923 William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), Irish

Work: Collected Poems

1924 Wladyslaw S. Reymont (1867-1925), Polish

Work: The Peasants

Nobel Laureate: Tailor's apprentice, traveling actor, monastic dropout, factory hand, shop clerk, telegraph operator--Reymont, at 25, was still looking for himself and for a way to make a living. Working on the railroad, he lived in a miserable hovel on "tea, bread, and dreams," trying to keep the ink in the inkwell from freezing while he scribbled, scribbled, scribbled. When one of his stories was published by a Polish weekly in 1893, he went off to Warsaw, with all of 3 rubles and 50 kopecks (less than $2) in his pocket. There he began to write novels based on his own harrowing experiences. In 1902 he was injured in a railroad accident from which he never fully recovered. It netted him 38,500 rubles in compensation. Confined to his bed for 18 months, he drafted a saga of peasant life which he consigned to the flames. From the ashes emerged the four-volume national epic The Peasants, which won him the Nobel Prize and a place in world literature. He had an abiding interest in spiritualism. In fact, he was a medium, although not a very happy one.

Nobel Lore: It was a toss-up between Reymont and Stefan Zeromski, whom the Polish public had favored for the award. But the president of the Nobel committee, Archbishop Nathan Soderblom, declared decisively that Zeromski was an author with whom he "would not like to acquaint the Polish reader." So Reymont received the prize. If the reaction in Poland was cool, it was positively caustic in other parts of the world, where hardly anyone had heard of him, let alone read any of his work. "Cows, Vodka, Acres, Potatoes, Soil, Love, Hate" was the heading of a Time magazine article. A New York Times editorial sardonically suggested that it was time for "the Switzerlands, the Irelands, and the Bengals . . . to run their course in the tourney lists of genius." But the unkindest cut came from France. When his gold medal arrived in Nice, where the ailing author was gathering strength, customs authorities demanded 1,000 francs in duty. Only the intervention of the Polish consulate averted an incident which would surely have taxed Franco-Polish relations.

1925 George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), British

Work: Androcles and the Lion; Pygmalion

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