(Par Stéphanie Bourgoin-Gaudet)
Le 14 avril dernier, les gagnants des Prix Pulitzer ont été connus du grand public. Le Pulitzer est surtout connu comme un prix gagné par les journalistes, mais c’est aussi un prix remis, entre autres, à des auteurs. En littérature, il y a cinq catégories : fiction, drama, history, biography/autobiography et poetry.
Donna Tartt, avec son livre The Goldfinch, a remporté le prix dans la catégorie fiction. Elle a été préférée à Philipp Meyer, avec son livre The Son, et à Bob Shacochis, avec son livre The Woman Who Lost Her Soul. Pour vous donner une idée du livre gagnant, en voici le résumé : It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art. As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.
Dans la catégorie drama, c’est The Flick, par Annie Baker, qui a remporté la palme. Cette œuvre a été préférée à The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence, de Madeleine George, et à Fun Home, le livre musicale dont les paroles sont de Lisa Kron et la musique, de Jeanine Tesori. Voici le résumé du vainqueur: In a run-down movie theater in central Massachusetts, the tiny battles and not-so-tiny heartbreaks of three underpaid employees play out in the empty aisles, becoming more gripping than the lackluster, second-run movies on screen.
Dans la section history, A Dreadful Deceit: The Myth of Race from the Colonial Era to Obama’s America, de Jacqueline Jones et Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident and the Illusion of Safety, de Eric Schlosser ont été mis de côté au profit de The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832, écrit par Alan Taylor et dont voici le résumé: Frederick Douglass recalled that slaves living along Chesapeake Bay longingly viewed sailing ships as « freedom’s swift-winged angels. » In 1813 those angels appeared in the bay as British warships coming to punish the Americans for declaring war on the empire. Over many nights, hundreds of slaves paddled out to the warships seeking protection for their families from the ravages of slavery. The runaways pressured the British admirals into becoming liberators. As guides, pilots, sailors, and marines, the former slaves used their intimate knowledge of the countryside to transform the war. They enabled the British to escalate their onshore attacks and to capture and burn Washington, D.C. Tidewater masters had long dreaded their slaves as « an internal enemy. » By mobilizing that enemy, the war ignited the deepest fears of Chesapeake slaveholders. It also alienated Virginians from a national government that had neglected their defense. Instead they turned south, their interests aligning more and more with their section. In 1820 Thomas Jefferson observed of sectionalism: « Like a firebell in the night [it] awakened and filled me with terror. I considered it at once the knell of the union. » The notes of alarm in Jefferson’s comment speak of the fear aroused by the recent crisis over slavery in his home state. His vision of a cataclysm to come proved prescient. Jefferson’s startling observation registered a turn in the nation’s course, a pivot from the national purpose of the founding toward the threat of disunion.
La biographie Margaret Fuller: A New American Life, de Megan Marshall a été élue grande gagnante. Au fil d’arrivée, elle a devancé les biographies Jonathan Swift: His Life and His World, de Leo Damrosch, et Karl Marx: A Nineteenth-Century Life, de Jonathan Sperber. Voici le résumé de l’œuvre gagnante de la section biography : From an early age, Margaret Fuller provoked and dazzled New England’s intellectual elite. Her famous Conversations changed women’s sense of how they could think and live; her editorship of the Transcendentalist literary journal The Dial shaped American Romanticism. Now, Megan Marshall, whose acclaimed The Peabody Sisters “discovered” three fascinating women, has done it again: no biography of Fuller has made her ideas so alive or her life so moving.
Marshall tells the story of how Fuller, tired of Boston, accepted Horace Greeley’s offer to be the New York Tribune’s front-page columnist. The move unleashed a crusading concern for the urban poor and the plight of prostitutes, and a late-in-life hunger for passionate experience. In Italy as a foreign correspondent, Fuller took a secret lover, a young officer in the Roman Guard; she wrote dispatches on the brutal 1849 Siege of Rome; and she gave birth to a son. Yet, when all three died in a shipwreck off Fire Island shortly after Fuller’s 40th birthday, the sense and passion of her life’s work were eclipsed by tragedy and scandal. Marshall’s inspired account brings an American heroine back to indelible life.
Pour la catégorie poetry, c’est l’œuvre de Vijay Seshadri, 3 sections, qui a gagné au détriment de The Sleep of Reason, de Morri Creech, et The Big Smoke, de Adrian Matejka. En voici le résumé: First I had three. apocalyptic visions, each more terrible than the last. The graves open, and the sea rises to kill us all. Then the doorbell rang, and I went downstairs and signed for two packages.