There have been mixed reactions worldwide to this year’s winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan.
The 75-year-old songwriter received the prestigious award yesterday for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”.
Dylan has solidified himself as not only a musician but a poet, a humanitarian, a champion of social welfare and, to many, somewhat of a prophet.
The 1960s were a time of excessive social change with larger-than-life individuals, including Dylan, paving the way for human rights progress during the time of the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights movement.
Dylan is regarded as the voice of a generation for his work from the 1960s and onwards. It was a time when the likes of The Beatles, Martin Luther King and Muhammad Ali all walked the earth.
He is now one of the sole survivors of this generation and his music catalogue has become a soundtrack to this important time in human history.
“Dylan has the status of an icon … his influence on contemporary music is profound,” said the Swedish Academy.
— The New York Times (@nytimes) October 13, 2016
Some have accused the Swedish Academy of deserting their high standards by awarding Dylan the prestigious prize.
But others believe their choice to honour Dylan, Rolling Stone’s second greatest artist of all time after the Beatles, truly reflects a significant social change.
If any musician was going win, it was going to be him. The literary work of Bob Dylan is noted for beautifully combining richly poetic lyrics, rich imagery, and a momentous sense of social justice.
Senior music writer at the Sydney Morning Herald, Bernard Zuel, told The Newsroom Dylan deserves the most famous literary prize of all time for his lyrical genius. According to Zuel, Dylan’s ability to create poetic lyrics inspired by 19th-century poet Baudelaire is astonishing. “He completely transformed contemporary music,” he said.
Social media reaction was divided but not equally, with most Bob Dylan tweets congratulating the music icon on his “well deserved” prize. Political leaders, songwriters, artists and even writers took to Twitter to comment.
Congratulations to one of my favorite poets, Bob Dylan, on a well-deserved Nobel. https://t.co/c9cnANWPCS
— President Obama (@POTUS) October 13, 2016
From Orpheus to Faiz,song & poetry have been closely linked. Dylan is the brilliant inheritor of the bardic tradition.Great choice. #Nobel
— Salman Rushdie (@SalmanRushdie) October 13, 2016
Amidst all the bullshit of this election came the news today that Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize in Literature.Lifted my spirits! #idiotwind
— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) October 13, 2016
— George Harrison ॐ (@FabGeorgeFacts) October 13, 2016
If they don't give the Nobel to Kendrick in 2030 there will be trouble
— Hari Kunzru (@harikunzru) October 13, 2016
The past five winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature are listed below:
– Jessica Staveley and Jameel Khan
Photo from VICE News, graphic by Jessica Staveley