1937 Nobel Prize in Literature
Roger Martin du Gard
"for the artistic power and truth with which he has depicted human conflict as well as some fundamental aspects of contemporary life in his novel-cycle Les Thibault"
  • 12 November 1937 (announcement)
  • 10 December 1937
LocationStockholm, Sweden
Presented bySwedish Academy
First awarded1901
WebsiteOfficial website
← 1936 · Nobel Prize in Literature · 1938 →

The 1937 Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to the French author Roger Martin du Gard "for the artistic power and truth with which he has depicted human conflict as well as some fundamental aspects of contemporary life in his novel-cycle Les Thibault".[1]


Main article: Roger Martin du Gard

Roger Martin du Gard was awarded for the then seven-part (a final eight part was later published) novel cycle Les Thibault (1922-1940), that chronicles a family of the bourgeoisie from the turn of the 19th century to World War I. His other work includes the novel Jean Barois (1913) that deals with the conflict between the Roman catholic faith of his childhood and the scientific materialism of his maturity and the impact of the Dreyfus affair on the protagonist, sketches of French country life in Vielle France ("Old France", 1933), a study of the author and his friend André Gide (Notes sur André Gide, 1951), and dramas.[2]

Du Gard's Les Thibault (1922–1940)

Les Thibault

The multi-volume roman-fleuve Les Thibault influenced the Nobel Committee in awarding Du Gard the 1937 Nobel Prize in Literature. It follows intricately the fortunes of two brothers, Antoine and Jacques Thibault, from their upbringing in a prosperous Catholic bourgeois family to the end of the First World War. The novel was admired by authors like André Gide, Albert Camus, Clifton Fadiman, and Georg Lukacs. In contrast, Mary McCarthy called it "a work whose learned obtuseness is, so far as I know, unequaled in fiction."[3]



Roger Martin du Gard had been nominated for the prize five times since 1934.[4] In 1937, the Nobel committee received 62 nominations for 37 writers including Frans Emil Sillanpää (awarded in 1939), Paul Valéry, Paul Claudel, Kostis Palamas, António Correia de Oliveira, Bertel Gripenberg, Karel Capek and Georges Duhamel. Fourteen were newly nominated such as Stijn Streuvels, Jean Giono, Johan Falkberget, Valdemar Rørdam and Albert Verwey. Most nominations were submitted for the Danish author Johannes V. Jensen (awarded in 1944) with seven nominations. There were seven female nominees namely Maria Madalena de Martel Patrício, Ricarda Huch, Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić, Maila Talvio, Maria Jotuni, Cecile Tormay and Sally Salminen.[5]

The authors Lou Andreas-Salomé, J. M. Barrie, Ellis Parker Butler, Aleksey Chapygin, Ralph Connor, Francis de Croisset, Alberto de Oliveira, John Drinkwater, Florence Dugdale, Edward Garnett, Antonio Gramsci, Frances Nimmo Greene, Ivor Gurney, Elizabeth Haldane, Élie Halévy, W. F. Harvey, Ilya Ilf, Attila József, H. P. Lovecraft, Don Marquis, H. C. McNeile, Dashdorjiin Natsagdorj, Rudolf Otto, Mittie Frances Point (known as Mrs. Alex. McVeigh Miller), Horacio Quiroga, Jean-Joseph Rabearivelo and Yevgeny Zamyatin died in 1937 without having been nominated for the prize. The Dutch poet Albert Verwey died before the only chance to be rewarded.

Official list of nominees and their nominators for the prize
No. Nominee Country Genre(s) Nominator(s)
1 René Béhaine (1880–1966)  France novel, short story, essays
2 Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić (1874–1938)  Yugoslavia
( Croatia)
novel, short story
3 Paul Claudel (1868–1955)  France poetry, drama, essays, memoir Peter Hjalmar Rokseth (1891–1945)
4 António Correia de Oliveira (1878–1960)  Portugal poetry Luís da Cunha Gonçalvez (1875–1956)
5 Karel Čapek (1890–1938)  Czechoslovakia drama, novel, short story, essays, literary criticism Josef Šusta (1874–1945)[a]
6 Maria Madalena de Martel Patrício (1884–1947)  Portugal poetry, essays António Baião (1878–1961)
7 Roger Martin du Gard (1881–1958)  France novel, drama, memoir Torsten Fogelqvist (1880–1941)
8 Georges Duhamel (1884–1966)  France novel, short story, poetry, drama, literary criticism
9 Olav Duun (1876–1939)  Norway novel, short story Helga Eng (1875–1966)
10 Johan Falkberget (1879–1967)  Norway novel, short story, essays Fredrik Paasche (1886–1943)
11 Jean Giono (1895–1970)  France novel, short story, essays, poetry, drama
12 Bertel Gripenberg (1878–1947)  Finland
poetry, drama, essays Magnus Hammarström (1893–1941)
13 Vilhelm Grønbech (1873–1948)  Denmark history, essays, poetry William Norvin (1878–1940)
14 Jarl Hemmer (1893–1944)  Finland poetry, novel Hjalmar Hammarskjöld (1862–1953)
15 Ricarda Huch (1864–1947)  Germany history, essays, novel, poetry
16 Johannes Vilhelm Jensen (1873–1950)  Denmark novel, short story, essays
  • Vilhelm Andersen (1864–1953)
  • Peter Skautrup (1896–1982)
  • Ernst Frandsen (1894–1952)
  • Francis Bull (1887–1974)
  • Jens Thiis (1870–1942)
  • Johannes Brøndum-Nielsen (1881–1977)
  • Carl Adolf Bodelsen (1894–1978)
17 Maria Jotuni (1880–1943)  Finland drama, novel, short story, essays Viljo Tarkiainen (1879–1951)
18 Ludwig Klages (1872–1956)  Germany philosophy, poetry, essays Wilhelm Pinder (1878–1947)
19 Erwin Guido Kolbenheyer (1878–1962)  Austria novel, short story, poetry, drama Heinz Kindermann (1894–1985)
20 Maurice Magre (1877–1941)  France novel, poetry, drama
  • Jules Marsan (1867–1939)
  • Joseph Gheusi (1870–1950)
21 Bensadhar Majumdar (?)  India essays Sen Satyendranath (1909–?)
22 John Masefield (1878–1967)  United Kingdom poetry, drama, novel, short story, essays, autobiography Anders Österling (1884–1981)
23 Dmitry Merezhkovsky (1865–1941)  Soviet Union novel, essays, poetry, drama Sigurd Agrell (1881–1937)
24 Kostis Palamas (1859–1943)  Greece poetry, essays Nikos Athanasiou Veēs (1882–1958)
25 Jules Payot (1859–1940)  France pedagogy, philosophy Alfred Baudrillart, C.O. (1859–1942)
26 William Pickard (1889–1973)  United Kingdom novel, poetry, essays Arthur Bernard Cook (1868–1952)
27 Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (1888–1975)  India philosophy, essays, law Hjalmar Hammarskjöld (1862–1953)
28 Valdemar Rørdam (1872–1946)  Denmark poetry, essays Ejnar Thomsen (1897–1956)
29 Sally Salminen (1906–1976)  Finland novel, essays, autobiography Albert Engström (1869–1940)
30 Arnold Schering (1877–1941)  Germany essays Ilmari Krohn (1867–1960)
31 Frans Eemil Sillanpää (1888–1964)  Finland novel, short story, poetry
32 Stijn Streuvels (1871–1969)  Belgium novel, short story
  • 5 professors from Belgian Universities
  • 64 university lecturers from Germany
  • Leo Goemans (1869–1955)
  • Hans-Friedrich Rosenfeld (1899–1993)
33 Maila Talvio (1871–1951)  Finland novel, short story, translation Ilmari Krohn (1867–1960)
34 Shaul Tchernichovsky (1875–1943)  Soviet Union
 Mandatory Palestine
poetry, essays, translation Joseph Klausner (1874–1958)
35 Cécile Tormay (1875–1937)  Hungary novel, short story, essays, translation
  • Jenö Pintér (1921–1988)
  • János Horváth (1878–1961)
  • Károly Pap (1897–1945)
  • János Hankiss (1893–1959)
  • Fredrik Böök (1883–1961)
36 Paul Valéry (1871–1945)  France poetry, philosophy, essays, drama Gabriel Hanotaux (1853–1944)
37 Albert Verwey (1865–1937)  Netherlands poetry, essays, translation
  • Pieter Nicolaas van Eyck (1887–1954)
  • Cornelis Gerrit Nicolaas de Vooys (1873–1955)
  • Nicolaas Anthony Donkersloot (1902–1965)


  1. ^ Karel Čapek was also nominated by 9 other professors of history or literature at Prague University.
  2. ^ Several thousand other nominations of Jean Giono were by ineligible nominators.
  3. ^ 27 professors from the universities of Bern, Basel, Geneva and Zürich in Switzerland, and Groningen, Netherlands.
  4. ^ The nomination was made in 9 separate letters by 15 Finnish university professor and Academy members.


  1. ^ "The Nobel Prize in Literature 1937". nobelprize.org.
  2. ^ "Roger Martin du Gard". britannica.com.
  3. ^ The New Republic, 26 April 1939
  4. ^ "Nomination archive - Roger Martin du Gard".
  5. ^ "Nomination archive". nobelprize.org. April 2020.