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Nobel Literature Prize for Austrian
October 07, 2004 17:09 IST
Last Updated: October 07, 2004 20:35 IST
The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2004 was on Thursday awarded to Austrian writer Elfriede Jelinek.
The acclaimed and controversial writer work explores the role of women in society among other things.
The 57-year-old Jelinek is only the 10th woman to win the Nobel Literature Prize. She is also the author of 'The Piano Teacher', which was made into an acclaimed film by Michael Haneke in 2001.
The jury awarded the prize 'for her musical flow of voices and counter-voices in novels and plays that with extraordinary linguistic zeal reveal the absurdity of society's clichés and their subjugating power'.
She will take home the prize sum of 10 million Kronor (US $1.3 million).
Jelinek is controversial in her country for her views on political issues. She is also known for her literary exploration of gender issues, sexuality and violence in society.
In The Piano Teacher, her most famous novel, Jelinek presents a pitiless world of violence and submission, hunter and prey, the jury said.
Her novel, and the subsequent film, graphically and explicitly explore voyeurism and masochism, and trace the self-destruction of the main protagonist, Erika Kohut, a piano teacher at the Vienna Conservatory. Kohut, in her forties and suffering from a deeply disturbed relationship with her mother, trawls the seedy side of contemporary Vienna, until her existence is disturbed by a young male student who falls in love with her, and whose romantic ideas are challenged by her disturbed sexuality.
One of Jelinek's basic themes is the inability of women to 'fully come to life in a world where they are painted over with stereotypical images', the Swedish Academy said in its citation.
In many novels, she describes power and aggression as the driving forces of relationships and uses pornographic description of sexuality, aggression and abuse to underpin this point, like in the novel 'Lust'.
Speculation had been rife in Stockholm this year that women writers, long overlooked by the Swedish Academy, which each year awards the Nobel Literature Prize, were well-placed to take home the honours this time.
The favourites included Algeria's Assia Djebar, Joyce Carol Oates of the United States and a Dane, Inger Christensen, but not Jelinek.
She will receive the Nobel Prize, which consists of the prize money, a gold medal and a diploma, from Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf at a formal ceremony in Stockholm on December 10, the anniversary of the death of Alfred Nobel, the founder of the Nobel Prizes, in 1896.
She said the prize was "surprising and a great honour," the Austrian news agency APA reported. But she said she was too ill to travel to Stockholm for the award ceremony. The Peace Prize will be announced on Friday, and the final prize, that for Economics, will be announced on Monday.