Bob Dylan awarded Nobel Prize in Literature

Song is poetry with music, and one of the best music writers, Bob Dylan, has been awarded a Nobel Price for Literature.

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2016 was awarded to Bob Dylan “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”.

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The New York Times writes:

The singer and songwriter Bob Dylan, one of the world’s most influential musicians, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition,” in the words of the Swedish Academy.

He is the first American to win the prize since the novelist Toni Morrison, in 1993. The announcement, in Stockholm, was a surprise: Although Mr. Dylan, 75, has been mentioned often as having an outside shot at the prize, his work does not fit into the literary canons of novels, poetry and short stories that the prize has traditionally recognized.

Sara Danius, a literary scholar and the permanent secretary of the 18-member Swedish Academy, which awards the prize, called Mr. Dylan “a great poet in the English-speaking tradition” and compared him to Homer and Sappho, whose work was delivered orally. Asked if the decision to award the prize to a musician signaled a broadening in the definition of literature, Ms. Danius jokingly responded, “The times they are a changing, perhaps,” referencing one of Mr. Dylan’s songs.

The times have changed more
since 1964

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44 Comments

  1. Joe Bloggs

     /  14th October 2016

    Well done Mr Dylan. And ain’t it wonderful to see a musician awarded a Nobel Prize for literature – it reminds me how influential music can be on politics, civil rights, the anti-war movement, and society at large.

    Reply
  2. Gezza

     /  14th October 2016

    Looking forward to seeing an opinion from anybody who might have, say, an MA (Hons) in English Literature.

    Reply
  3. PDB

     /  14th October 2016

    Well deserved but Dylan should have got it in the 1970/80’s (more a problem with the nobel for literature system)………..he has been totally irrelevant since then.

    Reply
    • Bill

       /  14th October 2016

      A bit harsh his music is as relevant now as it was in the 70s, that’s the point isn’t it.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  14th October 2016

        He’s a bit of a puzzle lyrically. His early anti-war SJW stuff was quite meaningful & I like a lot of his work, I even like his singing on some of his material. But quite a number of his songs, while sounding meaningful, are just odd collections of unconnected phrases. Jokerman & Tight Connection To My Heart are a couple that come to mind.

        Nevertheless he’s been so prolific & his lyrics are definitely poetry set to music in my opinion, so good on him for scoring an NP and getting songwriting recognised as poetry.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  14th October 2016

          Haha.

          I pity the people who have to decide from so many, what an agonising decision. Songs can indeed be poetry.

          It was great timing when I turned on the news that morning, something I never do usually, in time to see my cousin being awarded his. My mother and I were in a hotel, and the last person in her room had turned the phone sound off….frantic banging on the wall and cries of ‘Turn the television on !’ meant that she saw it, too.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  14th October 2016

            That went in the wrong place.

            I would imagine that in the 70s he would have been appalled at the idea ! How establishment !

            Reply
        • Bill

           /  14th October 2016

          Yeah know what you’re saying, then there’s songs like the Hurricane that seem as socially relevant in America today as in 1975.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  14th October 2016

            The Nobel Prize for Literature is given on merit, not the person’s views, I would imagine. The two are separate.

            Philip Roth is a brilliant writer, yet many people would be turned off by some of his subjects-but that doesn’t affect the quality of his work. Alas, I feel that his more recent writing is a little ‘the mixture as before’ and has lost something….but his work as a whole is in a stratosphere of its own.

            Reply
            • Klik Bate

               /  14th October 2016

              I assume you are referring to his brilliant novel ‘Portnoy’s Complaint’, Kitty? I recall a friend of my parents who owned a butcher shop back in the 60’s, saying it did absolutely nothing for the sale of liver.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  14th October 2016

              Not just Portnoy, of course,he has written many others.I have eight of his books, all brilliant. Anyone who read Portnoy expecting to be reading an ordinary dirty book would be sadly disappointed, as anyone who read Lolita would be. They’d find graphic sex, of course, but they wouldn’t find a dirty book. Roth could write about someone carrying the rubbish out and make it ablaze with greatness, he truly is in a stratosphere of his own.

              I have
              Portnoy’s Complaint
              American Pastoral
              The Professor of Desire
              The Dying Animal
              Everyman
              Sabbath’s Theatre
              Exit Ghost

              I can’t think of #8 and can’t be bothered to go and look.

              It’s odd that PC had that effect in the 60s, it was written in 1969.

            • Klik Bate

               /  14th October 2016

              Yes, I have read and enjoyed 3 of the titles you mention.
              As a matter of interest, why do you find it odd that someone would own a butcher shop in the 60’s?

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  14th October 2016

              I did not say that. I said that it was odd that a book seems to have some effect upon a shop before the book was written.

              ‘It’s odd that PC had that effect in the 1960s (i.e. before it was written)

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  14th October 2016

              ‘.

            • Klik Bate

               /  14th October 2016

              Sorry Kitty, but you seem to be very confused today. Was it a ‘hard night’ my dear?

            • Conspiratoor

               /  14th October 2016

              Herr klic I have no idea what you or the cat woman are on about but if you are into butcher shops I can heartily recommend Delicatessen. Noone does black comedy like the frogs. Cheers,c

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  14th October 2016

              Why am i considered to be confused because someone says that someone else had a butcher’s shop in the 1960s which was affected by a book that wasn’t written until the last year of the 60s ?

              How on earth did an unwritten book have any effect on this shop ? Were their customers psychic ?

              I am not the confused one here.

            • Gezza

               /  14th October 2016

              I must admit to being a bit puzzled about what all this has got to do with poor old Bobby D. 😳

        • Conspiratoor

           /  14th October 2016

          He’s a bastard G. He treated Joan like shit

          Reply
  4. duperez

     /  14th October 2016

    “…the flowers of the city though breathlike, get deathlike at times…” (To Ramona.)

    A few Dylan videos:
    https://www.youtube.com/watchv=JxpE0cofk90&list=PLcd4i6rvlDq2VKcoVdf_c3NfN52N7dE1Z

    Reply
  5. Alan Wilkinson

     /  14th October 2016

    Will Obama give his Peace Prize back?

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  14th October 2016

      No. Because although the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to United States President Barack Obama for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples”, & the Norwegian Nobel Committee, announcing the award, cited Obama’s promotion of nuclear nonproliferation and a “new climate” in international relations fostered by Obama, especially in reaching out to the Muslim world, as the official reason, it is generally believed by most thinking people that he received the award for being
      1. the first US black president, and
      2. not being George W Bush.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  14th October 2016

        PS: Maybe we should be asking ourselves if it’s such a good idea to leave this thing up to the Norwegians? 😳

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  14th October 2016

          I guess if they award it to Assad/Putin jointly this year we will know the answer.

          Reply
      • Conspiratoor

         /  14th October 2016

        What’s it all got to do with Bobby d G? Third song on the Delicatessen soundtrack is ‘Going, going, gone’. It all starts to make sense huh? Cheers,c

        Reply
  6. Joe Bloggs

     /  14th October 2016

    And in an irreverent aside, all six of America’s 2016 Science Nobel Laureates are immigrants. Looks like the American scientific community has a strong future as long as it doesn’t enter an era where it turns its back on immigration…

    Sorry, I couldn’t resist… it’s been one helluva week, now Friday afternoon and time to take a break from all this deathless politicking … 🙂

    Reply
    • Conspiratoor

       /  14th October 2016

      Yes joe ‘immigrants’ are good it seems. Unless you are the hapless Germans where a colossal 1 in 10000 migrants from the third world have found employment

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  14th October 2016

        Look what these immigrants have done to the US ! Stolen awards that should have gone to Americans ! NOW do you see why Trump wants to stop immigration ?

        Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  14th October 2016

        Tough titty for the Huns, they made Europe into the world’s biggest refugee camp within living memory.

        Reply
  7. Gezza

     /  14th October 2016

    So much for poor old Bob. Hardly anybody wants to talk about him on his own thread. 😕

    Reply
  8. Zedd

     /  14th October 2016

    good call Nobel committee.. 🙂

    Ive heard Mr Zimmerman called a ‘troubadour’ or a ‘poet lyricist’ from a tradition of Poets who not only wrote the poems but specialised in public performance too.

    Reply
  9. Zedd

     /  14th October 2016

    Johny’s in the basement
    Mixing up the medicine
    I’m on the pavement
    Thinking about the government….

    ….. Don’t wear sandals
    Try to avoid the scandals
    Don’t wanna be a bum
    You better chew gum
    & The pump don’t work
    ‘COZ THE VANDALS TOOK THE HANDLES ! 😀

    Reply
  10. Gezza

     /  14th October 2016

    It’s irritating that you can’t get so many versions of Dylan’s released songs on Youtube. Who’s got the copyright stranglehold on them?

    Reply

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