Benavente: Banquet Speech

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Benavente: Banquet Speech

Introductory remarks by Professor H. G. Söderbaum at the Nobel Banquet at Grand Hotel, Stockholm, 10 December 1922:

The art of poetry has this year donned the gleaming attire of drama and greets us from the far-reaching lands where the noble speech of Castile, the mother tongue of Lope de Vega and Calderón, forms the means of communicating thought for a considerable part of the population of our globe.

It has been said that “the business of the dramatist is to keep himself out of sight and to let nothing appear but his characters.” We regret that circumstances have compelled the Prize winner in Literature to follow this rule so literally that on this occasion also he has kept out of sight; but we hope that the near future will give us the opportunity of forming a closer acquaintance with him and also with his work.

As Benavente was unable to be present, the speech was given by Count de Torata, Spanish Ambassador (Translation from the Spanish):

It is difficult to express the deep satisfaction I feel today. It would take Benavente’s talent to come up to the level of my task and that of my audience. Also, I doubly regret the absence of the great author, for my sake as well as yours. The honour you have so rightfully bestowed on Jacinto Benavente you have also bestowed on Spain and all those countries in which our language is spoken, some of whose representatives I am happy to see among us. I hope that this Prize will contribute to a strengthening of the ties which unite us, to a mutual understanding between our countries, to reinforcing the cordiality of our friendship. Finally, permit me to express all the admiration and affection I feel for your country.

[© The Nobel Foundation, 1922.]