5 things we know about Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize for literature


1) A historic first. No other musician in history has ever won the Nobel Prize for literature. If his place atop the canon of rock wasn’t assured before this, it is now.

2) Ending a 23-year drought. It’s been 23 years since an American won the coveted literary prize. Toni Morrison won in 1993.

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3) A modern-day Homer. The Nobel prize committee has compared Dylan to Homer and Sappho. “Mr. Dylan’s work remains utterly lacking in conventionality, moral sleight of hand, pop pabulum or sops to his audience,” wrote Bill Wyman in 2013 when he argued Dylan should win the award. “His lyricism is exquisite; his concerns and subjects are demonstrably timeless; and few poets of any era have seen their work bear more influence.”

4) The old walls are crumbling down. The idea of a musician winning the Nobel Prize for literature would have been unthinkable 30 years ago. The prize typically goes to serious, high-brow, pipe-smoking intellectuals. It wasn’t meant for gritty folk artists-turned rockers. The sign that Dylan won, though, is evidence that the divide between high-brow art and low-brow art has collapsed. TV, music and digital media are just as artistic as the Illiad.

5) A surprise paycheck. Dylan will net just over $900,000 for winning the prize. Not a bad day.

We first reported on Dylan’s win here.

Photo credit: NBC Television.

One comment to “5 things we know about Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize for literature”
  1. Pingback: Great rock lyrics I have known and some pretty awful ones, too… | Rocknuts

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