TIME's Claire Suddath recounts the history of the Nobel prizes, and Lev Grossman reacts to the bestowing of the 2008 literature prize.
The honor and prestige of winning a Nobel may be priceless, but nobody would pursue prestige if it didn't pay. The Nobel Prize's 2009 cash value: a cool $1.4 million. Inside, a look at what laureates have done with the purse. By Richard Friebe