How Bob Dylan Forever Bonded with Literary Mavens?

Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan
By October 28th, 2016

It doesn’t seem that US Singer Bob Dylan has much in common with literary mavens like Ernest Hemingway and T.S. Elliot. But these three figures became forever bonded by the Nobel Prize for Literature.

This year’s prize makes Dylan the first American since Toni Morrison in 1993 to win the title. At the same time, the surprise announcement has also ignited a firestorm of discussion around the globe.

Influential US writer Jodi Picoult joked that she might now deserve a Grammy. And well-known British Indian novelist Hari Kunzru lamented on social media by saying :”This feels like the lamest Nobel win since they gave it to Obama for not being Bush.”

Dylan’s new status-a musician awarded the Nobel Prize for literature -- to a degree defies convention. However, this is by no means his first prize for his writing talents. Backing in 2008, the Pulitzer Prize jury awarded Dylan a special citation “for his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power.” In this strand, it could be argued that what the Nobel Committee is doing is simply reinforcing Dylan’s unshakable standing in the world of literature.

In a speech during the MusiCares pre-Grammy honors in 2015, Dylan revealed how he uses lyrics to document American culture and create an American songbook of his own. “I learned lyrics and how to write them from listening to folk songs. " said Dylan. “And I played them, and I met other people that played them, back when nobody was doing it.”

There is nothing more honorable to win acclaim from one’s competitor, but Dylan managed it. “From Orpheus to Faiz, song &poetry have been closely linked,” Salman Rushdie, the India-born novelist also thought to have been a candidate fro the prize, told The New York Times. “Dylan is the brilliant inheritor of the bardic tradition,” Rushdie added. “Great choice.”


related articles