Zainab Hussain

Zainab Hussain

at dinner parties I like to talk about how masculinity is a prison, gender isn't real, time doesn't exist, virginity is a construct & Jesus wasn't white
Zainab Hussain

 

Bob Dylan has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, for “having created new poetic expressions within the American song tradition,” in the words of the Swedish Academy. The announcement came as a surprise since his work does not fit into the literary canons of poetry, novels and short stories that the prize has previously honored.
But in no way is he undeserving of it.  He has long since stood out in the music scene with his oblique songwriting style.  As David Hajdu, a music critic who has written exclusively about Mr. Dylan and his contemporaries has said, “It’s partly a recognition of the whole tradition that Bob Dylan represents, so it’s partly a retroactive award for Robert Johnson and Hank Williams and Smokey Robinson and the Beatles.” In giving the literature prize to Mr. Dylan the academy is not only recognizing him for his work but also narrowing the gap between high-end literature and commercial forms of contemporary writings.
Other than his musical achievements, Mr. Dylan has produced a collection of prose poetry titled “Tarantula” in 1971, and “Writings and Drawings,” a 1973 compilation. And the first volume of his profound autobiography, “Chronicles,” published in 2004. He writes about his early years in New York City.

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It may look like the Swedish committee has widened the horizons regarding literature, but if you look back into history, 2500 years or so, you will see that Homer and Sappho wrote poetic texts that were meant to be listened to, accompanied by instruments. We regard those works as the pinnacle of poetic art form. Same is with Bob Dylan.

Mr. Dylan’s various honors include Grammy, Academy and Golden Globe awards; in 1988 he was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012. His song “Like a Rolling Stone” is number one on the Rolling Stones Greatest Songs if All Time list.

The Nobel Prize comes with a prize of 8 million Swedish kroner, around $900,00. The literature prize is given not for a single work, but for a lifetime of writing.

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