Okay, if you ever wondered what the deal was with the Swedish Academy that decides who wins the Nobel Prize for Literature, now we know. According to the BBC News (via the New York Times), J. R. R. Tolkien was snubbed for the award in 1961 after C. S. Lewis nominated him to receive it.
Said the Academy of his work, “the result has not in any way measured up to storytelling of the highest quality...”
Uh, yeah. Right.
Instead, the recipient of the 1961 Nobel Prize for Literature was that household name ... Ivo Andric. You know, the Yugoslav writer and author of the runaway bestseller, Na Drini ćuprija На Дрини ћуприја.
Wouldn't you know, I've searched my library and I just can't lay my hands on my copy.
If only Tolkien had written in Cyrillic script.
The Swedish Academy frowns on American authors, is a little bit more favorable toward Europeans, and has a curious penchant for giving the award to (you guessed it) Swedes. Other writers rejected by the Academy include James Joyce, Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov, Marcel Proust, Henrik Ibsen, Henry James, W. H. Auden, Emile Zola, Robert Frost, E. M. Forster, and Mark Twain.