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Henri Bergson

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1927

Philosopher, Essayist wrote in French. Rich and vitalizing ideas and brilliant skill in presentation. President, Commission for Intellectual Cooperation of League of Nations.

Philosophical system demonstrating Nobel's idea of acknowledging with his Prizes, not human deeds but new ideas revealed through select personalities. Regain for man's consciousness the divine gift of intuition and to put reason in its proper place: serving and controlling ideas.


  1. A situation is always comic if it participates simultaneously in two series of events which are absolutely independent of each other, and if it can be interpreted in two quite different meanings.
  2. Homo sapiens, the only creature endowed with reason, is also the only creature to pin its existence on things unreasonable.
  3. In laughter we always find an unavowed intention to humiliate and consequently to correct our neighbor.


  1. The prestige of the Nobel Prize is due to many causes, but in particular to its twofold idealistic and international character: idealistic in that it has been designed for works of lofty inspiration; international in that it is awarded after the production of different countries has been minutely studied and the intellectual balance sheet of the whole world has been drawn up. Free from all other considerations and ignoring any but intellectual values, the judges have deliberately taken their place in what the philosophers have called a community of the mind.
  2. Intuition is a method of feeling one's way intellectually into the inner heart of a thing to locate what is unique and inexpressible in it.
  3. The present contains nothing more than the past, and what is found in the effect was already in the cause.
  4. Genius is that which forces the inertia of humanity to learn.
  5. There is no greater joy than that of feeling oneself a creator. The triumph of life is expressed by creation.
  6. Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought.
  7. The only cure for vanity is laughter, and the only fault that is laughable is vanity.
  8. Some other faculty than the intellect is necessary for the apprehension of reality.
  9. There is nothing in philosophy which could not be said in everyday language.
  10. For life is tendency, and the essence of a tendency is to develop in the form of a sheaf, creating, by its very growth, divergent directions among which its impetus is divided.

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Photo: Nobelprize.org

Name: Henri Bergson
Birth: 18 October 1859, Paris, France
Death: 18 October 1859, Paris, France
Residence at the time of the award: France
Prize Motivation: "in recognition of his rich and vitalizing ideas and the brilliant skill with which they have been presented"
Field: Philosophy/essay writing
Language: French
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