|Esperantlingva Verkista Asocio
Association of Esperantophone Writers
Cooperating with the Universal Esperanto Association
P.O. Box 2118
SE-103 13 Stockholm
as the President of the Association of Esperantophone Writers, the only representative of literary activities in Esperanto, I am honoured to put forward Prof. William Auld as a candidate for the 2006 Nobel Prize for Literature.
William Auld is acknowledged to be the leading living writer in Esperanto. He was born in Scotland in 1924; he learned Esperanto at the age of thirteen, and chose it as the sole medium of his entire literary activity. His exceptional talent allowed him to avail himself of the expressive resources of the language as nobody had done before and to show that Esperanto can be a fully adequate medium of artistic expression as well as a practically useful means for the exchange of information.
Unlike Indo-European languages, Esperanto is an agglutinating, not an inflectional language. These structural peculiarities, which set it apart from the languages spoken in most of Europe for the last 3000 years, allowed William Auld to create linguistic and poetic structures which have no precedent in the European literary tradition. This makes his work strikingly original not only because of its subject matter but also from the more fundamental viewpoint of basic linguistic structures. Auld's work has exerted a seminal influence on the evolution of the whole language; it is mainly thanks to him that Esperanto, which had started out as a conventional "support" language, 120 years from its inception has become a full-fledged natural language in which both civil engagement and lyrical subtlety can find an equally effective and natural expression.
Auld's literary output (a summary of which can be found in the attached outline) comprises eight substantial collections of poems, as well as the editing of a fair number of anthologies (among which the Anthology of Esperanto literature, with its two editions, has been bedside reading for generations of Esperanto readers). He is also a prolific essay-writer in a wide range of scholarly fields, from the history of Esperanto literature to literary theory and linguistics. His work as a translator both from and into Esperanto is equally impressive and far-reaching as it involves not only English (from which he translated Shakespeare, London, Fitzgerald and many other authors) but also Scottish (he edited a collection of translations of Robert Burns) and (in collaboration with Bert Nilsson) Swedish; in 1979 he translated Harry Martinson's Aniara into Esperanto.
From 1949 Auld was active as the editor of several literary journals, some of which, such as Monda Kulturo and Norda Prismo shaped the history of Esperanto literature. He has also made fundamental contributions to the pedagogy of Esperanto, as the author of some of the most important textbooks for language teaching, especially for advanced students. He has served as the Vice-President of the Universal Esperanto Association and as the President of the Esperanto Academy.
Auld’s urge to write poetry stems from the desire to take issue with the social structures prevalent in Western countries from a staunchly anticapitalistic stance. The history of Great Britain in the last decades of the 20th century, with its emphasis on capitalistic liberalism, inspired some of his most memorable poems, both directly – as immediate critique of specific events – and indirectly: his descriptions of dilapidated suburbia and of social unease evidently mirror political ill-being. However, thanks also to the international breadth of the Esperanto reading public, this realistic and political viewpoint almost invariably opens itself up into a far-reaching reflection on the repressive nature of the state and on the human condition, which militarism and nationalism conspire to repress into a childish state: in La infana raso («The childish race») this position is tempered by a novel optimism, and by the typically progressive hope that, as humankind matures, more rational forms of coexistence shall prevail.
The right to existence of linguistic minorities is a major component in Auld's rejection of the oppressive worldview embodied by the capitalist state. This is well known to be a fundamental reason for the existence of the Esperanto movement; in Auld's poetic work it is encoded as a form of realism: injustice and lack of respect of basic linguistic human rights (that all languages should have equal dignity, and that all human beings should have the right to speak their own language) are represented in the most intense and sympathetic form through their concrete results, in the political outcomes of the violation of rights which impact the intimate and basic field of language, and in the practical effects of the global oppression which a single language, whose power stems from economic circumstances, exerts on lesser languages. Human unhappiness, the isolation of immigrants, cultural disorientation, lack of mutual understanding between cultures have their roots not only in the workings of the economy but also in the inability to acknowledge and respect linguistic, and thus cultural, differences.
Even though political realism is the main driving force behind Auld's poetics, he is not a stranger to humour or to lyrical and philosophical meditation. His essays emphasize the relevance of historical and realistic elements in poetry as preferred to a lyrical stance lacking involvement with concrete reality. His use of Esperanto is always presented not as an elitist choice but as a form of protest and the most effective rebuttal of a linguistic imperialism which bars individual poets from writing their work in their mother tongues and compels them to use a major language in order to reach a wider public, with detriment to their linguistic originality. This preoccupation also led Auld, whose mother tongue is English, to devote his scholarly attention to the variants of English in modern-day Britain, as well as to the various Celtic languages which coexist with the official language, in order to show, by the example of his own country, the linguistic variety under the apparently monolithic surface of the English language.
Awarding the Nobel prize for literature to William Auld would be a rightful acknowledgement of the international stature of his life work; it would also represent the discovery, on the highest possible level, of a writer who, with his courageous choice of an Esperanto audience for his art, dared to challenge linguistic hegemony and cultural conformity in the most effective and exemplary way.
Dr. Mauro Nervi
President of the Association of Esperantophone Writers
William Auld: Selected Works
Spiro de l' pasio (1952)
La infana raso (1956)
Unufingraj melodioj (1960)
Rimleteroj (kun Marjorie Boulton, 1976)
El unu verda vivo (1978)
En barko senpilota (1987)
Unu el ni (1992)
Angla antologio 1000-1800 (poezia redaktoro, 1957)
Esperanta antologio (1958/1984)
25 jaroj (poezia redaktoro, 1977)
Skota antologio (kunredaktoro, 1978)
Sub signo de socia muzo (1987)
Nova Esperanta Krestomatio (1991)
Plena poemaro: Miĥalski (red. 1994)
Tempo fuĝas (1996)
La balenodento, de Jack London (1952)
Epifanio, de Shakespeare (1977)
La urbo de terura nokto, de James Thomson (1977)
Don Johano, Kanto 1, de Byron (1979)
La robaioj de Omar Kajam, de Edward Fitzgerald (1980)
La sonetoj, de Shakespeare (1981)
Fenikso tro ofta, de Christopher Fry (1984)
Montara vilaĝo, de Chun-chan Je (1984)
La graveco de la Fideliĝo, de Oscar Wilde (1987)
La komedio de eraroj, de Shakespeare (kun Asen M. Simeonov, 1987)
Omaĝoj. Poemtradukoj (1987)
Gazaloj de Hafez (1988)
Spartako, de Leslie Mitchell (1993)
La stratoj de Aŝkelono, de Harry Harrison (1994)
Teri-strato, de Douglas Dunn (1995)
La kunularo de l' ringo, de J.R.R. Tolkien (1995)
La du turegoj, de J.R.R. Tolkien (1995)
La reveno de la reĝo, de J. R. R. Tolkien (1997)
La ĉashundo de baskerviloj, de Arthur Conan Doyle (1998)
La Hobito, au tien kaj reen, de J. R. R. Tolkien (kun Chris Gledhill, 2000)
Kantoj, poemoj kaj satiroj, de Robert Burns (kun Reto Rossetti, 1977)
Aniaro, de Harry Martinson (kun Bertil Nilsson, 1979)
Floroj sen kompar' (kun Margaret Hill, 1973)
Kantanta mia bird' (kun Margaret Hill, 1973)
Dum la noktoj (kun Margaret kaj David Hill, 1976)
Esperanto: A New Approach (1965)
Paŝoj al plena posedo (1968)
A first course in Esperanto (1972)
Bibliografio de tradukoj el la angla lingvo (1996, kun E. Grimley Evans)
Facetoj de Esperanto (1976)
Pri lingvo kaj aliaj artoj (1978)
Enkonduko en la originalan literaturon de Esperanto (1979)
Vereco, distro, stilo (1981)
Kulturo kaj internacia lingvo (1986)
La fenomeno Esperanto (1988)
La skota lingvo, hodiaŭ kaj hieraŭ (1988)
Pajleroj kaj stoploj : elektitaj prozaĵoj (1997)