Announcement by Anders Österling, Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy
Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Ladies and Gentlemen:
This year’s Nobel Prize for Literature has been awarded by the Swedish Academy to the Soviet-Russian writer Boris Pasternak for his notable achievement in both contemporary poetry and the field of the great Russian narrative tradition.
As is well known, Pasternak has sent word that he does not wish to accept the distinction. This refusal, of course, in no way alters the validity of the award. There remains only for the Academy, however, to announce with regret that the presentation of the Prize cannot take place.
On October 25, 1958, two days after the official communication from the Swedish Academy that Boris Pasternak had been selected as the Nobel Prize winner in literature, the Russian writer sent the following telegram to the Swedish Academy: “Immensely thankful, touched, proud, astonished, abashed.” This telegram was followed, on October 29, by another one with this content: “Considering the meaning this award has been given in the society to which I belong, I must reject this undeserved prize which has been presented to me. Please do not receive my voluntary rejection with displeasure.”