At the Nobel Museum, Listening to A Jerk on Tape

Kent and I are holed up in our monk-sized rooms in the monastery, er, Hotel Rica in downtown Malmo. No, they’re ok, just kinda small after the cavernous chambers in Stockholm we called home for three nights. Today we noticed that the darkness, which succombed Stockholm at 3:30 pm, hit here about 30 minutes later, due to the southern location of this city just across the bridge from Copenhagen.

We walked down toward the city’s castle and there we saw a submarine, up on concrete pilings, looking huge and daunting in the waning light of the evening here. Tomorrow we’ll see if we can get a look at the inside.

When we were in Stockholm, we stopped by the Nobel Museum, where the prizes are categorized and memorialized. There was a place you could listen to Nobel winners on tape…one was of Ernest Hemingway, who sounded like a jerk on the tape. He was stilted, sort of conscious of the tape, so that he was stiff and formal. And it sounded like he was not a guy I’d like to spend time with.

Then I learned that Jean-Paul Sartre had turned down his award for literature, declaring that awards for one work cheapens the environment for all, and at the time the Academy here was stunned. Nobody except Sartre turns down the cash and the prize. When Falkner (also on tape) was asked what he’d do with the money, a princely sum of $30,000 then, he said he’d give it to a cause as serious and as important at the source of the prize. He spoke with a lilting soft southern accent, his voice was as pleasant as Hemingway’s was crass.