JF Ptak Sdcience Books Post 1198
Can you spot what the similarity is in these books–besides being published works? It is a list of Pulitzer Prize winners, but what else? One work got the prize, the other didn’t. Can you tell the winner from the loser?
Here’s the hint–its not the title whose writer almost everyone can identify.
That’s correct–it is a list of famous losers. All of the winners of the Pulitzer for that year are listed first; the losers (well, those not selected) are second. (Yes I’ve mixed drama in with the fiction--this is a very quick study.)
1919. The Magnificent Amerbersons and My Antonia
1921. Age of Innocence and This Side of Paradise.
1923 Icebound and The Hairy Ape.
1924 Hell-Bent Fer Heaven (by Hatcher Hughes) and No! No! Nanette.
1926. Arrowsmith and The Great Gatsby
1927. Early Autumn and The Sun Also Rises.
1929. Street Scene and Strange Interlude
1930. Laughing Boy and The Sound and the Fury and A Farewell to Arms and Sartoris
1931. Years of Grace and As I Lay Dying
1932. Of Thee I Sing and Mourning Becomes Electra
1933. The Store and Light in August
1935. Now in November and Tender is the Night
1936. Honey in the Horn and Of Time and the River
1938. The Late George Apley and Of Mice and Men
1939. Abe Lincoln in Illinois and Our Town
1943. Dragons Teeth and The Moon is Down
1944. Journey in the Dark and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
1946. State of the Union and The Glass Menagerie.
1952. The Shrike and Requiem for a Nun and Darkness at Noon and The Rose Tatoo and The King and I.
1959 The Travels of James McPheeters and Lolita.
1965. The Keepers of the House and Herzog.
And so on.
I’m not saying that the winners of the Pulitzer for that year are bad works–I’m just pointing out that they just might not be good. In any case I think that if you were given the chance to be the writer of one or the other, my guess is that 99.9% of folks would chose the work in column #2.
“The nature of winning and losing is not a win-win situation...” the opening line for one of these winners might have read. The vagueries of success is a disorganized system but a system nonetheless, and sometimes it just makes no sense; and sometimes when it actually does make sense the sense it is is nonsense.
So it goes.