I’m shocked and elated. I watched the live stream of the announcement and didn’t catch the name when given in the first language, but observed the burst of governed cheering. I thought the name sounded like maybe Dom DeLillo. I caught Dylan’s name in the second language. The announcement in English followed, and I was certain I heard correctly.
Some have criticized the Committee’s choice, offering up snarky, witless remarks about novelists now being eligible to win Grammy awards. That attitude shows an ignorance of past Nobel Prize Literature winners. In 1913, Rabindranath Tagore won the award on the strength of Gitanjali, which translates to “Song Offerings” in English. Tagore wrote the Indian national anthem.
Here are some of Tagore’s songs:
So Dylan is not the first songwriter/poet to win. There is no need for an apologia. And then there’s this:
For me, this was a refreshing choice after Svetlana Alexievich last year, who won for non-fiction, journalistic works. That, to me, marked a betrayal of the idea of a prize for literature. Novels, plays, poems, songs. Those are literature. She was the first winner in a decade I did not make a point of reading.
I’ve read Dylan’s Chronicles, and I’ve been listening to his music for pretty much my entire life, so I have no need to get up to speed on this Nobel Prize winner. Perhaps now I’ll go back and read Alexievich to fill the hole I left last year.
Two Dylan songs. The first one is not actually the version on Blood on the Tracks. I like this performance better, but I prefer the lyrics from the album cut:
There’s a lone soldier on the cross
Smoke pouring out of a boxcar door
You didn’t know, you didn’t think it could be done
But in the final end, he won the war
After losing every battle
Something more upbeat for this happy day. Couldn’t find “Country Pie,” my first choice, so we’ll go with this one: