Monday, October 13, 2008

The Nobel Prize, and Mauritius

It's great news that the Nobel Prize for Literature should have gone to a Mauritian - Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio. At the moment, all the coverage is reading him as a French writer - but in his interviews he is always very clear that he is every bit as Mauritian as he is French, and that he is very sympathetic to the disappearing lifestyles of the island culture. This is very heartening for me - I have strong family links to Mauritius, and our productions of Toufann, Mappa Mundi and Twelfth Night were all in some way related to that extraordinary, vital and diverse culture. It's also great that Le Clézio is talking so clearly about ecological agendas in writing, about the value of other ways of living and seeing, about what we can learn from First Nations (as well as Mauritius and France, he also lives in New Mexico!). Whether this will mean a sudden surge of interest in Mauritian literature (or even theatre) I somehow doubt - but at least it's a sign of a growing sense that the apparently marginal in terms of the global economy may be central in terms of cultural regeneration.

2 comments:

Brian Barker said...

The fact that a French-man won the Nobel Prize for Literature will certainly annoy the anglophiles. After all, everyone now accepts that English is the international language.

I apologise for the satire, but speak as a native English speaker. Then, if English is unacceptable, on grounds of linguistic imperialism, what about Esperanto?

Yes Esperanto was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature, in the name of Icelandic poet Baldur Ragnarrson.

This is true. Esperanto does have its own original literature. Please check http://www.esperanto.net to confirm.

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