Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize in Literature

There were many happy and surprised voices heard, when it became clear that Bob Dylan (1941-) had won the Nobel Prize in literature. The reason was as follows: “for having created new poetic expression within the great American song tradition.”

Many people’s opinions differed whether Bob Dylan’s lyrics were to be regarded as literature or not. We are interested to hear what you think?

Here is why Dylan’s lyrics may count as literature: Dylan’s is using literary language, lyrics which slowly escape the “normal” limits to how language is used. It does not follow “common” rules for  genre, structure, or any given shape, but put together words in unusual and interesting ways.

Other people think that lyrics is not literature and they think that Bob Dylan’s lyrics is not independent of music.  (This contrast to what Sara Danius from the Nobel Prize committee claims cannot be  compared with Sappho and Homer, because it.)

But you can’t you at least say that lyrics have a cultural significance, whether it is sung or spoken?

Or shall you be taken from the right to the Nobel Prize if you have stolen quotes from others? Some critics argue Dylan does not deserve the Nobel Prize because his songs contain unacknowledged writing work from others.  But has it not happened before among musicians, Dylan argue, that they have “borrowed” from other people without citing them? What do you think about that?

Here you can listen to one of Bob Dylan’s more famous songs: Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.


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