Bob Dylan, Nobel Laureate

So, last week Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature. And when the Swedish Academy made its announcement from Stockholm, Sweden, there was a wide range of reaction.

Lots of folks liked the idea. A bunch of folks didn’t, some saying that giving the Minnesota-born Dylan the honor stretched the definition of literature to something evidently unrecognizable and others saying that the award cheapened the integrity of rock as an art form. Or something like that.

And in probably the most Dylanesque act in nearly sixty years of being Bob Dylan, the singer-songwriter (or song-and-dance man, teller of wild tales or lots of others things as well) has so far – not quite a week after the honor was announced – made no public mention of the Nobel. In fact, according to a piece on the CNN website, the Academy said Dylan has not returned their calls.

Odd Zschiedrich, the administrative director of the Swedish Academy, talked to the news network on Tuesday, and said, “We have stopped trying – we said everything we needed to his manager and friend, he knows about us being eager having confirmation from him, but we haven’t heard anything back.”

Zschiedrich also told CNN: “We will have the ceremony as usual, he will have the prize even if he is not there. Now we are just waiting for information.”

My reaction? I was surprised by the award (but not by Dylan’s non-response). I’d read over the past several years that Dylan had been considered – or at least nominated – for the Nobel, but I’d also read that he was, in effect, a fringe candidate whose odds were not great. I was also delighted, as Dylan’s work – from the epics like “Desolation Row” and “Highlands” to even trifles like “Wiggle Wiggle” – has been a major portion of the soundtrack of my life and a sizeable influence on my writing and music.

I imagine there’s more I could say, but a look at the nearly 2,000 posts I’ve offered at this blog over the years probably says enough. I’ve written more frequently about Bob Dylan than about any other artist (with Bruce Springsteen, unsurprisingly, being a close second). And I’ll no doubt do so again as memories and music merge here.

The next-to-last thing I want to offer here today is a picture I scavenged from Facebook showing the utterly perfect message presented this week outside Hibbing High School on Minnesota’s Iron Range:

congrats-bob

The last thing here today, of course, is music. For the last few days, I’ve been playing Dylan in the car as I make my way around town. Here’s one I heard yesterday: “Not Dark Yet” from the 1997 album Time Out of Mind.

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2 Responses to “Bob Dylan, Nobel Laureate”

  1. AMD says:

    I am rather in the pro-award camp, though the particular case made in The Quietus for being against the award is quite forceful.

    http://thequietus.com/articles/21138-bob-dylan-nobel-prize-eh

  2. Alison says:

    Time Out Of Mind, a great album! Art is for art’s sake – Go Bobby.

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