Balzan Prize Ceremony 2007: 1M. Swiss Francs for European Literature

On Friday, 23. November 2007, Michel Zink (France), Collège de France,
Paris, received one of the four International Balzan Prizes 2007 for research in the area of European Literature (1000-1500). The prize has an
endowment of CHF 1 million (EUR 610 thousand).

Michel Zink was today awarded with the Balzan Prize 2007 in the field of
European Literature (1000-1500) for his fundamental contributions to the
understanding of French and Occitan literature in the Middle Ages, a
decisive chapter in the development of modern European literature, by the
International Balzan Foundation. He was honoured for his new interpretation
of the relation between medieval and modern literature and for his seminal
initiatives that have brought the literature of the Middle Ages back into
the cultural tradition of France and Europe. The award ceremony took place
today in Berne, Switzerland.

Michel Zink is one of the leading experts in medieval courtly poetry. His
view of the historico-artistic development of romance literature focuses on
the Middle Ages, which are seen as an age of major creativity. As a defender
of romance philology, and therefore of the European literary identity, Zink
does not recognise differences in the approach to the analysis and
evaluation of diverse genres. Both “high” and “low” literature are studied
from a precise perspective intended to underline the power of conservation
of the tradition.

The International Balzan Prize Foundation, founded in 1957, promotes
culture, science, and the most meritorious initiatives in the cause of
humanity, peace and brotherhood among peoples, regardless of nationality,
race or creed throughout the world. It achieves its aim through the annual
award of four prizes in two general fields: literature, the moral sciences
and the arts; medicine and the physical, mathematical and natural sciences;
each for the current value of CHF 1 million. Each prize winner must destine
half of the prize for research work, preferably involving young researchers.

The Balzan Foundation also periodically awards a “Prize for Humanity, Peace
and Brotherhood among Peoples”. The awards ceremony is held in alternate
years in Rome, in the presence of the President of the Italian Republic, and
in Berne, in the presence of the representative of the Federal Council of
the Swiss Confederation. The International Balzan Prize Foundation works
from two different offices. The Balzan Foundation “Prize” (chaired in Milan
by Ambassador Bruno Bottai) selects the subjects to be awarded and the
candidates through its General Prize Committee, which is composed of eminent
European members. The Balzan Foundation “Fund” (chaired in Zurich by Achille
Casanova) administers the estate left by Eugenio Balzan.

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Further background information available on request.

For further information:

PR&D – Public Relations for Research & Development
Campus Vienna Biocenter 2
A-1030, Vienna

T +43 (0)1 505 70 44
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