Living And Writing

Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize in Literature is a metaphor

downloadShock and horror among writers all over the world…Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize in Literature 2016! Oh no…

But yes! And, even if I have my reserves regarding this subject, I do understand why he got this award. It is a manifesto against literary conservatism, a sort of silent revolution meant to show that the Nobel Prize for Literature is more than a prize for words. Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize is a great metaphor that those, who claim to be masters of words, didn’t actually get.

What those writers tend to forget is that Bob Dylan’s lyrics such as “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “The Times They Are a-Changin” became anthems for the American civil rights and anti-war movements. How many authors, who aspire to win the Nobel Prize can claim that achievement? Oh, but because he is an American songwriter, singer, artist, and writer as supposed to only a writer, he must be overqualified for this prize, or I can’t explain it otherwise. Dylan’s lyrics incorporate a wide range of political, social, philosophical, and literary influences. They defied existing pop music conventions and appealed to the burgeoning counterculture. Since 1994, Dylan has published six books of drawings and paintings, and his work has been exhibited in major art galleries. As a musician, Dylan has sold more than 100 million records, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time. He has also received numerous awards in the past including eleven Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and an Academy Award. Dylan has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Minnesota Music Hall of Fame, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and Songwriters Hall of Fame. The Pulitzer Prize jury in 2008 awarded him a special citation for “his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power.” In May 2012, Dylan received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama…need I say more?

So why the sore hate all over media and among writers against this event? Because he doesn’t follow the classic path and he is not so standardized like a Nobel Prize in Literature winner should be? Last time I checked, poems were literature, a significant part of it. Since 1901, the Nobel Prize in Literature (Swedish: Nobelpriset i litteratur) has been awarded annually to an author from any country who has, in the words of the will of Alfred Nobel, produced “in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction”…I would say Bob Dylan matches the original criteria, whether some like it or not.


As 14666063_1225403344148560_8719303579896981442_nfor Mircea Cărtărescu, Romanian author aspiring Nobel Prize in Literature but with very slim chances of achieving it, he declared initially how shocked he was regarding this situation and how he lost his ability to speak properly after Bob Dylan was awarded such a prize. Days after, he switched to irony and decided to post on his Facebook page the following statement: ”This is my final position, after considering all arguments: it is wonderful that Bob Dylan received the Nobel Prize in Literature! The literature field is not a rigid walled fortress, but a place open to all influences and changes, a mirror of the world as it is at every moment. Opening literature to marginal areas, to pop culture, the street, or to something else can only be a happy one. Within the personality of Bob Dylan we have, iconic, this blend of folk tradition and modern poetry, a mixture of Woody Guthrie and Dylan Thomas, possible only by the work of a huge talent.”. I hope that you all understood the “huge talent” obvious irony and the “marginal areas” obvious insult. I should also mention that Mircea Cărtărescu was accused of plagiarism and he still has this kind of aspirations, such as receiving a Nobel Prize…oh, dear Lord! It is even more ridiculous to have such an attitude when Mircea Cărtărescu used Bob Dylan and his well-known work to sell his collection of poems, entitled ”Blowing in the wind” (Romanian: Suflare în vânt)…Really, dude?!

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