15 The Nobel Academy
For the last 82years, Sweden's Nobel Academy has decided who will receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, thereby determining who will be elevated from the great and the near great to the immortal. But today the Academy is coming under heavy criticism both from the without and from within. Critics contend that the selection of the winners often has less to do with true writing ability than with the peculiar internal politics of the Academy and of Sweden itself. According to Ingmar Bjorksten , the cultural editor for one of the country's two major newspapers, the prize continues to represent "what people call a very Swedish exercise: reflecting Swedish tastes."
The Academy has defended itself against such charges of provincialism in its selection by asserting that its physical distance from the great literary capitals of the world actually serves to protect the Academy from outside influences. This may well be true, but critics respond that this very distance may also be responsible for the Academy's inability to perceive accurately authentic trends in the literary world.
Regardless of concerns over the selection process, however, it seems that the prize will continue to survive both as an indicator of the literature that we most highly praise, and as an elusive goal that writers seek. If for no other reason, the prize will continue to be desirable for the financial rewards that accompany it; not only is the cash prize itself considerable, but it also dramatically increases sales of an author's books.
16. the war between Britain and France
In the late eighteenth century, battles raged in almost every corner of Europe, as well as in the Middle East, south Africa ,the West Indies, and Latin America. In reality, however, there was only one major war during this time, the war between Britain and France. All other battles were ancillary to this larger conflict, and were often at least partially related to its antagonist’ goals and strategies. France sought total domination of Europe . this goal was obstructed by British independence and Britain’s efforts throughout the continent to thwart Napoleon; through treaties. Britain built coalitions (not dissimilar in concept to today’s NATO) guaranteeing British participation in all major European conflicts. These two antagonists were poorly matched, insofar as they had very unequal strengths; France was predominant on land, Britain at sea. The French knew that, short of defeating the British navy, their only hope of victory was to close all the ports of Europe to British ships. Accordingly, France set out to overcome Britain by extending its military domination from Moscow t Lisbon, from Jutland to Calabria. All of this entailed tremendous risk, because France did not have the military resources to control this much territory and still protect itself and maintain order at home.
French strategists calculated that a navy of 150 ships would provide the force necessary to defeat the British navy. Such a force would give France a three-to-two advantage over Britain. This advantage was deemed necessary because of Britain’s superior sea skills and technology because of Britain’s superior sea skills and technology, and also because Britain would be fighting a defensive war, allowing it to win with fewer forces. Napoleon never lost substantial impediment to his control of Europe. As his force neared that goal, Napoleon grew increasingly impatient and began planning an immediate attack..