Ismail Kadare


Ismail Kadare

Ismail Kadare (born January 28, 1936) is a world-renowned Albanian writer. In 1992, he was awarded the Prix mondial Cino Del Duca; in 2005, he won the inaugural Booker International Prize. He has divided his time between Albania and France since 1990. He is a Nobel Prize in Literature candidate.

Biography

Ismail Kadare was born in Gjirokastër, Albania in 1936. He first studied at the Faculty of History and Philology at the University of Tirana and later at the Maxim Gorky Literature Institute in Moscow. His wife, Elena Gushi-Kadare, is also an Albanian writer. In the 1960s, his works reflected the Albanian literature of Socialist Realism and post-communist Albania.

In 1990, immediately before the fall of communism in Albania, Kadare sought asylum in France. During the ordeal, he stated that "dictatorship and authentic literature are incompatible... The writer is the natural enemy of dictatorship." However, during the dictatorship, he had written extensively about the success of socialism and had been part of the communist propaganda. Kadare played the very delicate game of trying to please both the communist government and its critics. Today he is a controversial figure in Albania, considered by many a great writer and by many others a leftover of the communist regime.

Dissidence

Opinions differ on whether Kadare was a dissident or a conformist during the communist period. On several occasions, Kadare has denied that he was a dissident. For instance, in an interview in November 2006 on Albanian "TV Klan", Kadare answered as follows:

::Question from Blendi Fevziu: "Mister Kadare, have you ever tried to present yourself as dissident, even through others? "

::Ismail Kadare answering: "Absolutely not. Others have said this, and I could not do anything when foreign journalists wrote "The dissident author Ismail Kadare..."."

Arguments for

*Others believe that some of his works, such as "The Palace of Dreams", make strong parallels showing the evil of the communist regime.
*In a political and literary environment completely and fiercely controlled by the state, Kadare's writing was for many the only window to anything approaching reality, let alone resistance.
*Having been sentenced to temporary exile, he was forced to produce some works praising the regime and paying lip-service to its "achievements."
*Yet, in other works, Kadare purported to show that Albania's greatness extended beyond the Communist regime and that life could be beautiful without the (failing) Communist ideal.
*Kadare himself has been quoted as saying that he never claimed to be a dissident, that "dissidence was a position no one could occupy, even for a few days, without facing the firing squad. On the other hand, my books themselves constitute a very obvious form of resistance." [cite web |url=http://www.villagevoice.com/vls/0545,ehrenreich,69803,21.html |title=Fates of State: Booker winner Ismail Kadare's art of enigma |accessdate=2007-08-21 |last=Ehrenreich |first=Ben |authorlink= |coauthors= |date=November 8, 2005 |year=2005 |month=November |format= |work= |publisher=Villagevoice.com |pages= |language=English |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote= ]
*He has referred to "The Great Winter" as "the price he had to pay for freedom".

Recognition

Kadare's works have been published in over forty countries. He has been a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature and in 2005 he received the inaugural Man Booker International Prize.

ee also

*Albanian literature
*Albanian culture

References

External links

* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/arts/4604409.stm Winning the first Man Booker International Prize] , as reported by the BBC.
* [http://www.mathieu-bourgois.com/photos-auteur.asp?Clef=208 Ismail Kadare] -- Photos by Mathieu Bourgois.
* [http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2005/6/EA0110B5-D81C-45BE-8F4A-E38CAA8240B6.html Ismail Kadare, Novelist From The 'Balkan Fringe,' Receives Top Literary Award] - Kadare's interview to RFE/RL
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/arts/4603741.stm Biography] at bbc.co.uk.
* [http://www.newyorker.com/fiction/content/?051226fi_fiction New Yorker article by Ismail Kadare]
* [http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/label_france/English/LETTRES/kadare/kadare.html Interview (09/1998)]


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