The Nobel Prize in Literature has been granted to great writers across the globe, but even today the Swedish Academy has been criticized for having excluded various authors that have made invaluable contributions to the world of literature.
The books of English author Virginia Woolf, such as Mrs Dalloway and To the Lighthouse are iconic to the twentieth century and, even today, form part of courses of study in universities. Such is also the case of Irish writer James Joyce. Both took part in the flow of consciousness and a form of narration that did not respect punctuation marks or traditional structures, but which contributed a great degree of realism to their stories. In both Mrs Dolloway and in Ulysses (by Joyce), we can walk through the streets of London and Dublin at the beginning of the century. However, despite the modernist style that these authors brought prominence to at the international level, they never received the Nobel prize.
Among Spanish-speaking authors, only 11 have received the Nobel prize. However, this select group does not include some of the iconic novelists and story writers of the last few decades of the twentieth century. Such is the case of Jorge Luis Borges, who is considered by many to be the most important writer of the century. His fame extends across the world, and his works have been translated into many languages. Additionally, he himself was a Spanish translator for transcendental works that marked a before and an after, such as Faulkner’s The Wild Palms and even James Joyce’s Ulysses, who we have already discussed. Unfortunately, it is believed that his political views got in the way of his winning the prestigious prize. Julio Cortázar is also proposed by some as a clear candidate for the Nobel prize for his originality in fantasy literature. Panamanian Carlos Fuentes, for his part, received many awards for his important works, but never the Nobel prize.
With regard to Russian authors, neither Leo Tolstoy—author of War and Peace and Ana Karenina—nor Vladimir Nabokov—a naturalized American citizen who described American society in his novel Lolita—received this recognition.