On October 11, 2012, it was made public that Mo Yan had won the Nobel Prize for Literature for “Hallucinatory Realism.” Prior to his receiving the award, I was not familiar with his work. However, I now know that most of his works combine hallucinatory realism with folk tales, history and contemporary life grounded in his native land.
Wait a minute, that sounds familiar. Anyone on the judging committee ever read Dan’s Papers? It’s been around in some form for over 50 years. Yan was only born in 1955.
Yan is best known in the West for Red Sorghum, which portrayed the hardships endured by farmers in the early years of communist rule. His titles also include Big Breasts and Wide Hips and The Republic of Wine.
Although these might be snappy titles, I submit that they don’t hold a candle to any one of a hundred stories, myths and spun tales that have been featured over the decades within the Dan’s Hamptons Family of Publications.
The award citation said Yan used a mixture of fantasy and reality, historical and social perspectives to create a world, which was reminiscent of the writings of William Faulkner and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Great, but can he get tens of thousands of people to read his work week after week for over a half a century? I doubt it.
The prize awarded by the Swedish Academy is worth 8 million crowns, or 1.2 million American dollars.
I have no idea if Yan has ever read Dan’s Papers but I submit that long before he started writing hallucinatory realism, it was already being practiced in the Hamptons.
Nowhere else on earth could one find subjects of the unique caliber of those who live in or frequent our area. It is common knowledge that most everyone here lives or belongs in the realm of dream or fantasy.
In 1981, The Oxford Companion to Twentieth Century Art defined hallucinatory realism as “a careful and precise delineation of detail, yet a realism which does not depict an external reality since the subjects realistically depicted belong to the realm of dream or fantasy.”
With no disrespect to Yan, I have written the Academy and requested a reconsideration of the award. If Lance Armstrong can be stripped of his titles for simply using performance enhancing drugs, the Academy can take away the Nobel Prize award and money and give it to the true creator of hallucinatory realism. Acknowledge the Originator and not the Impersonator.
I also propose that with the prize money, the Paper throw the biggest Hamptons party ever on record. Everyone will be invited including those characters real or imagined…Sea Serpents, Howard Hughes, Werewolves, Monsters, Killer Sharks, Old Man McGumbus…well, you get my point.