The IGnobel prize
Early in his career Henrik Ibsen prophesied: One of these days, the younger generation will come knocking at my door. And they certainly did. They wanted to see and hear the man who had revolutionised drama during the second half of the nineteenth century.
The Nobel committee, however, didn’t come knocking at all. Instead, they gave their 1903 prize in literature to the Norwegian poet Björnstjerne Björnson.
One of your favourite writers, right?
Why didn’t Ibsen get it? He was constantly rejected, apparently, because his writings were too realistic and did not contain any idealism.
In the previous year Leo Tolstoy had been considered and rejected for the prize. Tolstoy claimed that he didn’t mind, because, in his words, it saved me from the painful necessity of dealing in some way with money.
The Permanent Secretary of the Nobel Committee during the early years, was Carl David af Wirsén, “the Don Quixote of Swedish romantic idealism,” and it was he who was bitterly opposed to Tolstoy’s political views, and, presumably, to those of Ibsen.
The IGnobel is the title which Hemingway, the 1954 recipient, bestowed on the prize.