Bob Dylan Awarded Nobel Prize in Literature
Bob Dylan can now add a Nobel Prize to the many awards and honors he's been given throughout his long and distinguished career.
The Swedish Academy made the announcement today, lauding Dylan for "having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition." As Academy secretary Sara Danius told reporters, the decision reflects their belief that Dylan's songs deserve to be included in a tradition of poetic human expression that goes back thousands of years.
"If you look back, 2,500 years or so, you discover Homer and Sappho, and they wrote poetic texts that were meant to be listened to. They were meant to be performed often together with instruments," said Danius. "It’s the same way with Bob Dylan – but we still read Homer and Sappho, and we enjoy it, and the same thing with Bob Dylan. He can be read, and should be read, and is a great poet in the English tradition."
Aside from the thrill of adding "Nobel Prize winner" to his résumé, Dylan will receive not-inconsiderable tangible benefits from the Academy's decision. At a ceremony scheduled for Dec. 10, he'll be given his Nobel medal — fashioned out of 18-carat gold — as well as a check for roughly $900,000.
As the The New York Times notes, Dylan's win marks the first time an American artist has been given the award since author Toni Morrison in 1993. And although the honor has caught more than a few fans and pundits by surprise, it will vindicate former Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman, who penned a 2013 editorial for the Times arguing Dylan's worthiness.
"Mr. Dylan’s work remains utterly lacking in conventionality, moral sleight of hand, pop pabulum or sops to his audience," wrote Wyman. "His lyricism is exquisite; his concerns and subjects are demonstrably timeless; and few poets of any era have seen their work bear more influence."
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