Press release, December 18th 2018
Academician Eugen Simion, Chair of the Literature and Philology Department of the Romanian Academy, is the 2018 laureate of the Alfred Nobel Gold Medal for Philology, awarded by the International Philological Society. The award ceremony will take place at the beginning of 2019 at the European Parliament in Strasbourg and will be followed, as per the award regulations, by the organization of another award ceremony in the laureate’s home country. Every five years for almost a century, the International Philological Society has awarded its Alfred Nobel Gold Medal for Philology, conceived as an equivalent of the Nobel Prize for Literature, as a token of the highest appreciation of the exceptional value of certain grammatical works as well as works of literary criticism and literary history. The idea of creating a distinct prize for critics and researchers in the analysis of grammar and literature was born following the winner of the 1927 Nobel Prize for Literature, French philosopher Henri Bergson, being neither a poet nor a novelist. Thus, it was decided that every five years, the International Philological Society would award a Gold Medal for Exceptional Advancement of Philology in the memory of Alfred Nobel, modelled on the prestigious Fields medal in mathematics. The International Philological Society selects and puts forward five candidates with the laureate being decided following a vote from over 200 universities worldwide that claim membership of the Society. Along the years, the laureates of the Gold Medal for Philology included such prestigious names as Nikolai Trubetskoi (1936), Danish linguist Louis Trolle Hjelmslev (1956), linguist Roman Jakobson (1981), semiotician Yuri Lotman (1991), literary theorist Umberto Eco (2001), sinologist Göran Malmqvist (2011). Beginning in 2016, the Gold Medal has been awarded annually, its most recent laureate being Professor Noam Chomsky. Academician Eugen Simion, this year’s laureate of the Alfred Nobel Gold Medal for Philology, is a literary critic and historian, essayist and editor, Professor of Literature at the Faculty of Letters of the University of Bucharest. He taught courses on Romanian culture and civilization at the Université Paris IV (Sorbonne) and was a visiting professor at the École Normale Supérieure de Paris (Fontenay-aux-Roses). He is the Director of the “George Călinescu” Institute of Literary Theory and History at the Romanian Academy. An important member of the Romanian Academy, he has been a titular member since 1992, only one year after being elected a corresponding member. Between 1998 and 2006 he was the President of the Romanian Academy. He initiated and coordinated a number of fundamental projects of the Academy, among which the “General Dictionary of Romanian Literature”, the complete digitization of Mihai Eminescu’s manuscripts, and the “Pléiade”-esque collection of “Foundational Works” which numbers over 200 volumes to date. He is the founder (1999) and Chairman of the National Foundation for Science and Art, under the patronage of the Romanian Academy. He is a member of the Academia Europaea (London), the Danish Royal Academy of Sciences and Letters, the French Academy of Moral and Political Sciences, of the Academy of Athens and the Moldavian Academy of Sciences.
Press office of the Romanian Academy