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The Nobel Prize in Literature
October 1, 2012, 12:00 AM EDT
Alfred Nobel had broad cultural interests. The interest that he developed in literature during his early youth lasted throughout his life. His library holds a rich spectrum of literature in different languages. Further evidence of Nobel’s literary interest was that during the last years of his life, he began writing fiction again. Literature was the fourth prize area Nobel mentioned in his will.
The very first Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded in 1901 to the French poet and philosopher Sully Prudhomme, who in his poetry showed the “rare combination of the qualities of both heart and intellect”. Over the years, the Nobel Prize in Literature has distinguished the works of authors from many different languages and cultural backgrounds. The Literature Prize has been awarded to unknown masters as well as authors acclaimed worldwide.
According to tradition, the Swedish Academy sets the date for its announcement of the Nobel Prize in Literature later in October relative to the other prizes.