It seems ‘The Times They Are A-Changin’ have filly gotten to the Nobel Committee for Literature at the Swedish Academy. For the first time ever, the Nobel prize for Literature has gone to a musician. In springing this welcome surprise this year, the Nobel Committee has also done much to rid itself of its high-brow image. What is interesting is that a ‘great majority’ on the 18-member Nobel panel voted for Bob Dylan, according to the Swedish Academy’s permanent secretary. Acclaimed for his multi-faceted talent with language, Dylan’s intertiol impact and influence over a long line of songwriters has been sustained. Even hard-boiled academics have hailed Dylan for giving memorable phrases galore to the English language, sometimes colloquial, sometimes street-smart, and many-a-times swinging from surreal or wild poetical flights of fancy to the conscientious voice of political protest that have defined generations. For over five decades, he has been constantly re-inventing himself with ever-changing styles, lending himself to the American anti-war and civil rights movements of the Sixties, and then to the folk-rock movement and still beyond. Wonder of wonders, the 75-year old poet-musician is still touring, while his lyrics keep regularly appearing in university poetry anthologies and scholarly books of literary alysis. In honouring Bob Dylan, the Nobel Committee has at last given song lyrics a place in serious literature, as it has earlier done for plays and novels.
Nobel for Bob Dylan