Why Han Suyin can never win the Nobel prize for literature

Because she is a woman and a free-thinker… the Nobel prize committee is mostly male… men can’t stand female intellectualism, especially if it is politicized… Mystics and flower poets, okay… But not good old Han Suyin… Not a boy, definitely not a boy…!

I bet her books are still unavailable in local bookstores in Chinese editions…

Here is a choice titbit from one of her best short novels, “cast but one shadow” ( great title, huh? )…

" ‘Ah,’ said Prem, sighing, 'never does one have to wait for all eternity, you know. Not if you are a Buddhist. The Lord of Compassion is not ruthless and absolute, damning forever, as your God is. The only trouble is that in this dimension there is no convenient scapegoat, as you have in yours. The invention of the scapegoat was an excellent way of evading responsbility. Once you have laid your sins upon one, you felt exonerated. But here it’s different. Here it’s quite different. No one can bear your sins for you. On the contrary. We are collectively responsible for all misdeeds, and the innocent pay for the guilty, but the guilty are still guilty, all of them together. It’s somehow more fair, isn’t it, than the other way round? But it takes longer, it’s not so neat and packaged as your formulae…"

and neither did Rebecca West or Virginia Woolf get the prize… And neither did Iris Murdoch or Hannah Arendt.

:loco:

This post is sexist…and darn funny :laughing:

neither did doris lessing get the Nobel prize for her ‘Golden Notebook…’ I disagree that my post is sexist, but insist, rather that I am a feminist, which also means that I don’t have to know you very well to sleep with you… Just like Han Suyin is and was a free-loving lass, as well… heeheee…

Popo -

[quote]"…I am a feminist, which also means that I don’t have to know you very well to sleep with you…"[/quote]ahhh…but to know me is to love me… :wink:

I offer no reason why the authors mentioned were not awarded a Nobel in Literature. I suspect much less nefarious reasons exist.

I also submit that the pantheon of great authors who are not in that rareified atmosphere of Nobel winners is proof that “winning the Nobel” is not the be all and end all some may think.

hehehe, but if they were guys, they would have won… I would submit, that if Han Suyin had been a guy, she would have been given the Nobel prize… Just so as would have Virginia Woolf got it, etc, etc…

The nobel prize is based on your body of work, so if those women had great bodies then they’d have done much better in the Nobel Stakes IMHO.

nyuck nyuck nyuck, yes I’m going to change my name to Huang and move into the Lai Lai top floor, too… But the question remains, has anyone permitted or made her works available here in Taiwan, in the Chinese language?

I’m sure that a translation of “Lhasa, the Open City: A Journey to Tibet” was available in China.

For this work of “reportage” alone she does not deserve consideration for the Nobel Prize.

[quote=“Popo”]and neither did Rebecca West or Virginia Woolf get the prize… And neither did Iris Murdoch or Hannah Arendt.
:loco:[/quote]

:slight_smile: I’d say it would have been nice if Woolf, Arendt, or de Beauvoir had gotten the prize.

Sadly, in the last 100 years, gender status has undergone far less than 1% of the changes we’ll someday see. It’s kinda hard to hope for thousands of years of history to change in a century. :slight_smile:

Okay. Shoot me now.

Gender Schmender. She wasn’t that good. Too much of what used to be written as “inscrutable orientel” in her writing. Yes, she was writing from either that side or in between, but the result was the same. To boot, she had a beef, an agenda. That always hurts art if it takes over, eh?

From that quote Han Suyin sure sounds like someone I would love to read more of.

Alfalfa, you don’t know what you are talking about in the slightest… Her four book series about modern Chinese history is more thorough and fascinating to read than almost any other history… And your words about “inscrutable oriental” are nonsense… She writes very VERY clearly… As for her agenda, I don’t think that criticism is at all fair, especially as it almost always comes from those American historians and critics who never once had any personal contact with China; Han Suyin grew up there and experienced the Civil War in person… She personally knew the rich and the poor, the Soongs, the Paos, Chou Enlai – the REAL people of modern China… Much more than can be said for any Harvard or Yale pro-hack…

And as to what Bob has to say… that little book, “Cast But One Shadow” alone could win a Nobel prize. Nobody from my home country can write like that, not Mavis Gallant, not Margaret Atwood, not Alice Munro… None of them come close to the polished worldliness of Han Suyin… I think Han Suyin was a child of the future, a true cosmopolite with a world view much more comprehensive than the usual stuck-in-their-region little pros of today…

Thanks for the title Popo. You know you are a pretty good writer yourself.

I should ignore this, but…

You misunderstood me completely. She mystifies and plays up the mystique of the orient - a la writing things that are just a little removed from western travel writing of the 19th C. She wrote stuff that was “Madam Butterfly” like. Not good art and not accurate history and of little use to serious minds. As for your comment on who she personally knew, you said rich and poor and only listed rich and powerful. Not representative. She was a mouthpiece at best.

You obviously have not really read Han Suyin at all… But have you asked yourself, “Why have I bought into the typical American right-wing male critical line?” which quickly pigeonholes Han Suyin while failing entirely to account for her actual work at all!? She does not mystify anything…

I strongly urge you to read “The Crippled Tree” which is the first of 4 books of family and national history. This is not a book of South American magical realism, not at all. It is a vivid, era-sweeping account of infinite detail and superb evocative character… She delves deeply into the character of her family and then paints a larger portrait of China at the end of the Ching dynasty… In the second, third and fourth books, she becomes an adult eyewitness to the events that shaped modern China… She was there. She lived in places like Chongching, Hong Kong, Shanghai… She knew a lot of people, and she based a lot of her early history on the very detailed autobiography written by her grandfather…

She did not make anything up… Only Western critics, especially Americans, ganged up on her with the jingoistic and false words of criticism that you have used to accuse her. Why did the critics do this? Well, obviously, to erase any other interpretation that detracted from a favorable public view on the demands of American foreign policy… But to suggest that she had an agenda beyond telling the story of her family and explain what was actually happening in China, for example, during the war between the Communists and the Nationalists and Japan, is not fair… The Americans had to side with Chiang Kai Shek simply because he was not a communist… Did it matter that he was a double-dealing murderer? Not at all… So what do you think historians were paid to do during that era in America? Chiang Kai Shek fought the communists when, by treaty, he was supposed to fight the Japanese. But he never fought the Japanese. It was American naval ships which transported the Chinese soldiers to Taiwan, the same Chinese soldiers who exterminated innocent women, children, Taiwanese government officials and university professors… Why do you think so many intellectuals left the United States for Canada during the Viet Nam era? I hope you understand that fully…

In England the intellectual climate was somewhat more free; Han Suyin’s books were first published in England, and there, she was as admired as Rebecca West, who wrote a great book about the problems of Croatia, Serbia and such, “Black Lamb and Grey Falcon.” Bertrand Russell himself said that reading her history of China gave him more knowledge about the country than the year he actually spent travelling there…

I think you will change your mind if you read the book as a man, not a dummy looking for footnotes in a dry history written on second and third hand stories by scholars who never went to China. Those guys had the agenda, at Harvard and Yale, to suppress the truth about China so they could prop up the right-wing policies of the American regime…

Do you think you are going to get to teach classes at Yale if you write a book suggesting that the Viet Nam war set the Americans on an irreversible trajectory of genocidal global destruction, on par with the Nazis? Of course not… Only the appropriately sanitized euphemisms* get admitted to speak publically and formulate the pap which you and most Americans repeat as an acceptable version of the truth… But human truth is not really objective, and history is the least objective kind of “truth”… Thus, if you stop and think for a moment – the only history worth reading is the kind of history written by individuals closest to the time and place about which he or she writes!

So first you read Herodutus, Thucydides, Xenophon, Strabo, Diodorus Siculus, Livy, Tacitus, Plutarch and Dio Cassius… Then you proceed to read Gibbon’s “Decline and Fall…”


* EUPHEMISM...
A euphemism is an expression intended by the speaker to be less offensive, disturbing, or troubling to the listener than the word or phrase it replaces.  When a phrase is used as a euphemism, it often becomes a metaphor whose literal meaning is dropped. Euphemisms are often used to hide unpleasant or disturbing ideas, even when the literal term for them is not necessarily offensive. This type of euphemism is used in public relations and politics, where it is sometimes disparagingly called 'doublespeak'. There are also superstitious euphemisms, based (consciously or unconsciously) on the idea that words have the power to bring bad fortune (for example, not speaking the word 'cancer').

Did Han Suyin give an accurate picture of Lhasa or of the situation in Tibet in her book “Lhasa, the Open City: A Journey to Tibet”?