Bob Dylan wins Nobel Prize for Literature

I won the Nobel Prize!
I won the Nobel Prize!

No, this is not a joke. Bob Dylan has won the Nobel Prize for Literature for 2016. A lot of people are really not going to like this but I have always been impressed by Bob Dylan’s lyrics. Whether he is worthy of winning it over other US writers, such as Don DeLillo, Joyce Carol Oates or Thomas Pynchon, I am not sure but he is certainly more worthy than Philip Roth. US commentators have bitterly complained that the US has not had a winner since 1993 with Toni Morrison. Now they cannot complain, as they frequently do, that the winner is obscure, unknown and read by no-one. So here are three Dylan songs to entertain you. Listen to the lyrics: My Back Pages, as sung by the Byrds, but written by Dylan, All Along the Watchtower sung by Jimi Hendrix but written by Dylan and Like a Rolling Stone, sung by Dylan and The Band and written by Dylan. Congratulations Bob!

4 Replies to “Bob Dylan wins Nobel Prize for Literature”

  1. Not to be pusillanimous regarding someone so notorious, but the Like a Rolling Stone version linked here is not by Dylan. Otherwise, thanks for sticking your neck out. Care to argue why you think he is so much more deserving than Roth?

    1. Sorry about Like a Rolling Stone. Now corrected. I think Roth is a very poor and massively overrated writer (see, for example, http://www.litkicks.com/OverratedRoth). I think he is narcissistic and trivial. Yes, I know many people disagree but that is my view. I always though Dylan’s lyrics were brilliant. Nobel Prize calibre? Maybe not but then nor were most of the early winners and some of the later ones, such as Pearl Buck.

  2. Opinion certainly seems divided. That’s a good sign, nothing like a good literary dust-up. The question is why the Nobel Prize for literature is perceived as the year’s big horse race, taken to bestow universal acclaim and literary immortality. They’re only Swedes after all! Why take it seriously at all? As Leonard Cohen has already observed, Mount Everest doesn’t need an award for being the world’s highest mountain….Still, it will be interesting to see what Mr. D says when and if he gets to Stockholm. All best, jg, paris

    1. But will he go? He has kept very quiet so far. And I do take your point about the importance of the Nobel Prize but it has acquired this importance so we have to live with it.

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