Any Questions #397: "Nobel Laureates In Literature"

Apr 5, 2019

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel swap seats for a show about Nobel laureates in literature.

Last week's challenge
Start with the phrase DEBIT CARD. Change one letter to an O and you can rearrange the result to spell the names of two items (five letters and four letters) often used when playing a game. What are the words?
Answer: Change the T and a O and you can spell BOARD and DICE.

On-air questions: On this date in 2005, the novelist Saul Bellow died at age 89 in Massachusetts. Known for beloved books like “The Adventures of Augie March,” “Humboldt’s Gift”, and “Herzog,” Bellow racked up a lifetime of awards, including the 1976 Nobel Prize in literature. In his Nobel lecture, Bellow said: “A novel is balanced between a few true impressions and the multitude of false ones that make up most of what we call life.” In honor of Bellow, today’s show is all about other Nobel laureates in literature, who must be living to win the award. I’ll give you the year and an excerpt by that writer, you give me their name.

1. 2016: “You used to be so amused/At Napoleon in rags and the language that he used/Go to him now, he calls you, you can't refuse/When you ain't got nothing, you got nothing to lose/You're invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal/ How does it feel?/How does it feel//To be without a home/With no direction home?/Like a complete unknown?/Like a rolling stone?”
2. 1954: “He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish. In the first forty days a boy had been with him. But after forty days without a fish the boy's parents had told him that the old man was now definitely and finally salao, which is the worst form of unlucky…”
3. 1993: “Sethe believed it was a recovering body’s need—after an illness—for quick strength. But it was a need that went on and on into glowing health because Beloved didn’t go anywhere. There didn’t seem anyplace for her to go. She didn’t mention one, or have much of an idea of what she was doing in that part of the country or where she had been.”
4. 1983: “The conch was silent, a gleaming tusk; Ralph's face was dark with breathlessness and the air over the island was full of bird-clamor and echoes ringing.”
5. 1962: “They were hungry, and they were fierce. And they had hoped to find a home, and they found only hatred. Okies—the owners hated them because the owners knew they were soft and the Okies strong, that they were fed and the Okies hungry; and perhaps the owners had heard from their grandfathers how easy it is to steal land from a soft man if you are fierce and hungry and armed. The owners hated them.”

Extra credit
1. 1969: VLADIMIR: Well? Shall we go? ESTRAGON: Yes, let's go. They do not move
2. 1953: “We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender….”

This week's challenge
Start with the name of Nobel laureate Gunter Grass. Rearrange the letters and you can spell a two-word phrase that might describe members of Nirvana and Soundgarden. What is the phrase?

On-air questions

1. Bob Dylan (for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition)
2. Ernest Hemingway ("for his mastery of the art of narrative, most recently demonstrated in The Old Man and the Sea, and for the influence that he has exerted on contemporary style."
3. Toni Morrison (“who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality")
4. William Golding ("for his novels, which with the perspicuity of realistic narrative art and the diversity and universality of myth, illuminate the human condition in the world of today)
5. John Steinbeck (“for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour and keen social perception”)

Extra credit
1. Samuel Beckett ("for his writing, which - in new forms for the novel and drama - in the destitution of modern man acquires its elevation")
2. Winston Churchill (“for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values”)