Nobel Prize Award for Literature 1957 to 1965

About the Nobel Prize Award for Literature 1957 to 1965 including the authors such as Camus and Pasternak, their works, and history.


1957 Albert Camus (1913-1960), French

Work: The Plague; The Stranger

Nobel Laureate: His Alsatian father was killed at the Battle of the Marne when Camus was less than a year old. His Spanish mother, proud but poor, turned cleaning woman to support her family. Bouts of tuberculosis disrupted his studies and his soccer playing. ("It was on the playing fields that I learned my only lessons in moral ethics.") Working as car accessory salesman, meteorologist, and shipping clerk, the philosophy student put himself through the University of Algiers. In the 1930s he wrote plays for the proletariat and worked as reporter and reviewer. He lived in Paris during W.W. II, working for Paris-Soir and the Resistance newspaper Combat, which he later edited. In the 1940s, a series of startling books rocketed him to the forefront of France's intellectual life. "I have experienced nihilism, contradiction, violence, and the vertigo of destruction," he observed. "But at the same time I have hailed creative powers and the privilege of living." It was a short-lived privilege. At 44 he was one of the youngest recipients of the Nobel Prize. Less than three years later, his "invincible summer" ended abruptly--in a blowout on a French highway which led to his death. Absurd.

Nobel Lore: Competitors included Saint-John Perse, Nikos Kazantzakis, and Andre Malraux. "Had I been a judge," said the unpretentious Camus, "I would have voted for Andre Malraux."

1958 Boris Pasternak (1890-1960), Russian

Work: Dr. Zhivago

1959 Salvatore Quasimodo (1901-1968), Italian

Work: Incomparable Earth

1960 Saint-John Perse (1887-1975), French

Work: Anabase; Chronique

Nobel Laureate: Saint-John Perse is the nom de plume of French foreign office functionary Alexis Saint-Leger Leger. He was born in Guadeloupe, where his Hindu nurse was a secret priestess of Shiva. Educated in France, he joined the diplomatic service in 1914 and was later sent to Shanghai and Peking. In 1922 he became secretary general for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and 10 years later he headed the department. Leger/Perse opposed appeasement. And when France fell, he was a marked man. He lost his job, his home, his citizenship. The Gestapo ransacked his apartment, stealing or burning his manuscripts. The displaced diplomat found refuge in the U.S., where he was appointed consultant to the Library of Congress. The Vichy government had even dismissed him from the Legion of Honor, but later he received other honors including the American Academy's quinquennial award, Yale's honorary doctorate, a national Grand Prix, an international Grand Prix, and--most lustrous of laurels--the Nobel Prize. France restored his civil rights after the war, but not until 1957 did he go back--to his estate on the Riviera, with the wife he had married in Washington at age 70.

1961 Ivo Andric (1892-1975), Yugoslavian

Work: The Bridge on the Drina

1962 John Steinbeck (1902-1968), American

Work: The Grapes of Wrath; Of Mice and Men

1963 George Seferis (1900-1971), Greek

Work: The Thrush; Log Book III

1964 Jean-Paul Sartre (1905- ), French (refused prize)

Work: Nausea; No Exit

1965 Mikhail A. Sholokhov (1905- ), Russian

Work: And Quiet Flows the Don

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