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Vatican paper slams 'nihilistc' Nobel literature choice

The Vatican's L'Osservatore Romano newspaper has attacked a novel of 2004 Nobel Literature prize winner Elfriede Jelinek for its "devastating lasciviousness in the name of political and social denunciation translatable in absolute nihilism".

Jelinek won the award "for her musical flow of voices and counter-voices in novels and plays that with extraordinary linguistic zeal reveal the absurdity of society's cliches and their subjugating power," the jury said. Jelinek, only the 10th woman to win the Nobel Literature Prize, is the author of The Piano Teacher, which was made into an acclaimed film by Michael Haneke in 2001.

L'Osservatore Romano described The Piano Teacher as: "Three hundred pages of brutal recklessness, perverse psychologies and destructive feminine genealogy, intended only to denounce the irremediable inheritance of evil, sin, violence in every form of love."

The newspaper criticized Jelinek's works because "her topics are quickly channelled into descriptions of the feminine world, between scenes of crude sexuality, which are not conducive to an understanding of the emancipation of woman."

It criticised the work for "linking sex to pathology, power and violence."

"Cold and sad, marked by lack of communication and abuse, the union of bodies is never open to delicacy or dignity of soul or purpose," the article said.

Daughter of a Jewish father and Czech mother, Elfriede Jelinek was born on 20 October 1946, in Murzzuschlag, Austria. She had an eclectic formation in which music predominated.

L'Osservatore Romano Criticizes Nobel Pick in Literature (Zenit 18/10/04)

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2004
Austrian writer Elfriede Jelinek wins Nobel Literature Prize (Turkish Press/AFP 7/10/04)

20 Oct 2004