But the #MeToo movement came battering at its antique doors. Eighteen women came forward accusing a man closely linked to the group of sexual abuse, which they said had gone on for decades. He is Jean-Claude Arnault, a French photographer, who is married to the poet Katarina Frostenson, a member of the academy. They run a cultural club in Stockholm called Forum, which was funded by the academy, and which Arnault, it is alleged, used as a base for his predations. Frostenson has also been accused of leaking the names of prize winners to Arnault, who would then bet at bookies in Paris.
There’s been a run of resignations so that the committee no longer has a quorum, and the edifice of the Nobel Prize in Literature is lurching into oblivion. Commentators have, of course, pointed out that this particular emperor was always threadbare. Now that the somewhat arbitrary methods of choosing the annual winner have been revealed, there are many who will agree.
No wonder Doris Lessing accepted the award so grudgingly, and Bob Dylan bunked the ceremony, instead sending a recorded lecture in the nick of time before he forfeited the prize money.