Is Bob Dylan Literature?

10/14/2016 12:01:29 PM
written By : Team India Se Print

On October 13, American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan etched his name in history as the first musician to receive a Nobel Prize in Literature. He won the award “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”.

“If you look far back, 2,500 years or so, you discover Homer and Sappho. They wrote poetic texts that were meant to be listened to and performed, often together with instruments, and it’s the same way for Bob Dylan,” said Sara Danius, the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, announcing the award.

The author Salman Rushdie told the Guardian he was delighted with Dylan’s win and said his lyrics had been “an inspiration to [him] all [his] life ever since [he] first heard a Dylan album at school. The frontiers of literature keep widening, and it’s exciting that the Nobel prize recognises that.”

However, Dylan’s win was met with as much criticism as approval. Many believe that his works do not transcend the boundaries of “pop music”, to qualify as great literature.

Author Irvine Welsh voiced his displeasure on Twitter, saying: "I'm a Dylan fan, but this is an ill-conceived nostalgia award wrenched from the rancid prostates of senile, gibbering hippies."

Dylan, of course, could riposte with a famous line of his: “”Don’t think twice, it’s all right.”


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