1927 Nobel Prize in Literature
Henri Bergson
"in recognition of his rich and vitalizing ideas and the brilliant skill with which they have been presented."
  • November 1927 (announcement)
  • 10 December 1927
LocationStockholm, Sweden
Presented bySwedish Academy
First awarded1901
WebsiteOfficial website
← 1926 · Nobel Prize in Literature · 1928 →

The 1927 Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to the French philosopher Henri Bergson (1859–1941) "in recognition of his rich and vitalizing ideas and the brilliant skill with which they have been presented."[1] He was the second philosopher to gain the Nobel Prize after Rudolf Christoph Eucken won in 1908.


Main article: Henri Bergson

Bergson was educated at the Lycée Condorcet and at the École Normale Supérieure, where he studied philosophy.[2] He developed his philosophy through a series of publications that were well known for their original perspectives on life as well as their effective application of metaphor, imagery, and analogy. In Essai sur les Données Immédiates de la Conscience ("Time and Free Will: An Essay on the Immediate Data of Consciousness", 1889), Bergson proposed the idea that consciousness exists on two levels, the first of which can only be attained by intense introspection, and the second of which is an exterior projection of the first.[2][3] The notion of time that Bergson had previously proposed in his prior writings was expanded upon and used to investigate living things in L'Évolution Créatrice ("Creative Evolution", 1907).[4] His other principal works include Matière et Mémoire ("Matter and Memory", 1896), Le Rire. Essai sur la Signification du Comique ("Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic", 1900) and Les Deux Sources de la Morale et de la Religion ("The Two Sources of Morality and Religion", 1932).[2][3][4]



Bergson was not nominated in 1927 but in 1928[5] was awarded for this year. He received a total of ten nominations beginning in 1912 made Scottish author Andrew Lang. In 1928, he received three separate recommendations from members of the French Academy, members of the Academy of Political and Moral Sciences and professors of history of philosophy.[6]

In total, the Nobel Committee received 29 nominations in 1927 for authors such as Kostis Palamas, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Thomas Hardy, Guglielmo Ferrero, Rudolf Maria Holzapfel, Olav Duun, Ada Negri and Johannes V. Jensen (awarded in 1944). There were six authors newly nominated namely Cesare Pascarella, Eduard Meyer, Samuel Parsons Scott, Edith Wharton, Édouard Estaunié and Erwin Guido Kolbenheyer. Of the 23 nominees, four were women: Ada Negri, Edith Wharton, Concha Espina de la Serna and Grazia Deledda (awarded for 1926).[5]

The authors Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, Bernhard Alexander, Mikhail Artsybashev, Hugo Ball, Kazimir Barantsevich, Margret Holmes Bates, Martin Stanislaus Brennan, Clara Louise Burnham, John Bagnell Bury, Mabel Collins, Roi Cooper Megrue, James Oliver Curwood, Minnie S. Davis, Robert de Flers, Federico De Roberto, Manuel Díaz Rodríguez, Osório Duque-Estrada, Georges Eekhoud, Adolfo León Gómez, Ricardo Güiraldes, Lesbia Harford, Hubert Harrison, Fukuda Hideko, Jerome K. Jerome, Kang Youwei, Gaston Leroux, Agnes Maule Machar, Harriet Earhart Monroe, Süleyman Nazif, Jessie Penn-Lewis, Stanisław Przybyszewski, Fyodor Sologub, Borisav Stanković, Stephan G. Stephansson, Mary Webb, Philip Wicksteed died in 1927 without having been nominated for the prize.

Official list of nominees and their nominators for the prize
No. Nominee Country Genre(s) Nominator(s)
1 Olaf Bull (1883–1933)  Norway poetry Jens Thiis (1870–1942)
2 Grazia Deledda (1871–1936)  Italy novel, short story, essays Henrik Schück (1855–1947)
3 Olav Duun (1876–1939)  Norway novel, short story Halvdan Koht (1873–1965)
4 Concha Espina de la Serna (1869–1955)  Spain novel, short story Salomon Leopold Rosenberg (1869–1934)
5 Paul Ernst (1866–1933)  Germany novel, short story, drama, essays German professors[a]
6 Édouard Estaunié (1862–1942)  France novel, literary criticism Erik Staaff (1867–1936)
7 Guglielmo Ferrero (1871–1942)  Italy history, essays, novel
8 Vilhelm Grønbech (1873–1948)  Denmark history, essays, poetry Johannes Pedersen (1883–1977)
9 Thomas Hardy (1840–1928)  United Kingdom novel, short story, poetry, drama
10 Ferenc Herczeg (1863–1954)  Hungary novel, drama, essays Hungarian Academy of Sciences
11 Rudolf Maria Holzapfel (1874–1930)  Austria philosophy, essays
12 Erwin Guido Kolbenheyer (1878–1962)  Austria novel, short story, poetry, drama Austrian professors[c]
13 Josip Kosor (1879–1961)  Yugoslavia
( Croatia)
novel, poetry, drama Branislav Petronijević (1875–1954)
14 Eduard Meyer (1855–1930)  Germany history Georg Wittrock (1876–1957)
15 Ada Negri (1870–1945)  Italy poetry, novel, essays
  • Vittorio Rossi (1865–1938)
  • Giuseppe Gallavresi (1879–1937)
  • Giuseppe Antonio Borgese (1882–1952)
  • Michele Scherillo (1860–1930)
16 Kostis Palamas (1859–1943)  Greece poetry, essays Simos Menardos (1872–1933)[d]
17 Cesare Pascarella (1858–1940)  Italy poetry, essays
18 Samuel Parsons Scott[e] (1846–1929)  United States essays, history, law Edgar Ewing Brandon (1865–1957)
19 Hugo von Hofmannsthal (1874–1929)  Austria novel, poetry, drama, essays Walther Brecht (1876–1950)[d]
20 Edvard Westermarck (1862–1939)  Finland philosophy, essays 8 members of the Finnish Scientific Society
21 Edith Wharton (1862–1937)  United States novel, short story, poetry, essays 7 professors at the Yale University

Prize decision

See also: 1926 Nobel Prize in Literature § Prize decision, and 1928 Nobel Prize in Literature § Prize decision

In November 1927, the Swedish Academy announced that no Nobel Prize in Literature would be awarded with the following explanation:

"During the selection process, the Nobel Committee for Literature decided that none of the year's nominations met the criteria as outlined in Alfred Nobel's will. According to the Nobel Foundation's statutes, the Nobel Prize can in such a case be reserved until the following year, and this statute was then applied."[1]

After the deliberations in 1928, the Nobel Committee awarded Henri Bergson and Sigrid Undset in 1927 and 1928 respectively.[7] Maxim Gorky and Kostis Palamas had been the main contenders for the 1927 prize, but as a compromise Bergson was the chosen laureate.[8]


  1. ^ A number of German professors, some of whom, based on the subjects they represented, were eligible to nominate P. Ernst.
  2. ^ A number of North American, Swiss and German professors and authors, some of whom were eligible to make a nomination, joined in the nomination for Holzapfel.
  3. ^ E. Kolbenheyer was nominated by professors of aesthetics and history from Vienna, Austria and Tübingen, Germany.
  4. ^ a b The nomination was supported by Anders Österling. The Nobel Prize in Literature for 1926 was reserved. This nomination, originally made in 1926, was carried over to the nominations for 1927.
  5. ^ Scott: "History of the Moorish Empire in Europe" (1904).


  1. ^ a b The Nobel Prize in Literature 1927 nobelprize.org
  2. ^ a b c "Henri Bergson". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 18 May 2004.
  3. ^ a b "Henri Bergson | French philosopher". Encyclopedia Britannica.
  4. ^ a b Henri Bergson – Facts nobelprize.org
  5. ^ a b Nomination archive – Literature 1927 nobelprize.org
  6. ^ Nomination archive – Henri Bergson nobelprize.org
  7. ^ The Nobel Prize in Literature: Nominations and Reports 1901–1950 nobelprize.org
  8. ^ Helmer Lång Hundra nobelpris i litteratur 1901-2001, Symposion 2001 p.26