If he’d written more of them then the prize would have come earlier

Nobel winner Pablo Neruda was almost denied prize because of odes to Stalin

22 thoughts on “If he’d written more of them then the prize would have come earlier”

  1. They gave a Nobel to George Bernard Shaw, who also fawned over Stalin. So hard to refuse this other useful idiot.

  2. Friend Stalin! I’m filled with elation
    That you killed the best part of your nation.
    And my humble dirges
    On your famous purges
    Have received the Nobel nomination!

  3. Brave Fart:

    For that, I would need Edmund Clerihew Bentley to come to my rescue.

    Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili
    Had a name that was very silly
    And showed that Socialist Democracy
    Is synonymous with brutal autocracy.

  4. Stalin had no time for Social Democrats. He referred to them as Social Fascists in that side splitting, head hole inducing, rapier sharp wit of his.

  5. TBF, during his lifetime, USA-funded activities in Latin America were mostly criminal – eg setting up Klaus Barbie as chief of police in Bolivia – and USSR wasn’t very active at that time overseas, as distinct from in Europe and China. His faith in Communism as a faith didn’t waver although he was troubled by the Prague Spring and seemed to harbour doubts about particular regimes

  6. Actually just look at the writers considered for the Nobel that year and compare them with recent laureates. Enough to make you weep.

    “The opening of the archives also shows that WH Auden, James Baldwin, Philip Larkin and Jorge Luis Borges were all nominated for the 1971 award. Auden made the shortlist, along with Patrick White, André Malraux and Eugenio Montale.”

    Auden, Larkin, Borges, White, Montale! OK,Patrick White’s star might have faded a little but the others are still on most people’s lists of the best writers of the 20th century

  7. Diogenes- came across a guy last week who didn’t know of WH auden. He’s a sparky and had a job in a prep school with an Auden room or an Auden house. He asked whether it was anyone famous and bloke at the bar said “probably WH Auden”. Which back in the day would have lead to possibly a few lines (my contribution: stop the dog from barking with a juicy bone). But in the day of mobile internet, it lead to a Full rendition of “Stop all the clocks”, in the pub. I love that.

  8. “Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
    For nothing now can ever come to any good.”

    Have just been checking Neruda’s poetry and memoirs. The favourable mentions come before the Kruschev stuff and the only complete poem dedicated to Stalin was on the occasion of his death. I wonder how the BBC reported it at the time?

    In his memoirs, Neruda writes “The private tragedy for we Communists was to face the fact that, in several aspects of the Stalin problem, the enemy was right. This revelation, which was staggering, left us in a painful state of mind…” and there were several poems in the late 50s and 60s that attempted to come to terms with the contrast between the real politician and the creation of propaganda. It is rather more honest than the reaction of some of those Anglo-Marxists.

    It makes you wonder why Auden, Larkin and Borges were turned down. Was it based on a similar lacking of knowledge?

  9. Sam Vara wins the Interwebz for today.

    And let’s be fair.. When it comes to the Literary Nobel, worthies like Chaucer and Shakespeare wouldn’t even make the first selection. Too popular and controversial, y’see..

  10. Come to think about it…

    The Arabian Nights dig is obvious.
    I know of at least three tribal african female dances that do more or less the same…
    There’s also documentation of women in amazonian Forgotten tribes doing something similar to give whoever they’re aiming at the Come-On..
    Indonesian formal dance, check. Balinese dance, check. Australian aboriginee, check. Mongolian Formal matchmaking campfire dances… check.
    ( yes, biologist… we do Mating Rituals of all species..)

    And every healthy bloke in his prime won’t miss the cock-and-wiggle of the Female Hip, especially if aimed at his direction..

    So how the hell is it even possible to “culturally appropriate” this? It’s one of the deepest parts of the bits that we call Human. With a good case for Primate, period. It’s that old..

  11. I am reminded of Conquest’s ode to Stalin…

    There was an old bastard named Lenin
    Who did two or three million men in.
    That’s a lot to have done in,
    But where he did one in
    That old bastard Stalin did ten in.

  12. It was a poem by Neruda that was used in Truly, Madly, Deeply, some of his stuff is popular with the ladies in my experience from 40 years ago

  13. I’d have thought the bigger problem with Neruda these days would be his ‘toxic masculinity’ as some of his work is definitely machismo
    How about “I want to do with you what spring
    does with the cherry trees,” or “ I love you as
    certain dark things are to be loved in secret, between the shadow and the soul,”
    Couldn’t get away with that sort of stuff these days

  14. Diogenes,

    The best poets moved into songwriting. What rhymes do people know? Mostly the work of Jarvis Cocker, Elvis Costello, Lin Manuel-Miranda, Smokey Robinson. The people still working as poets are like the people still producing art in galleries.

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