The Importance Of Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize In Literature
Start writing a post

The Importance Of Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize In Literature

The song now stands together with the sonnet.

The Importance Of Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize In Literature
Nobel Media

Well, the times they are a-changin'.This year, the Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to Bob Dylan, musician and prolific songwriter of the last five decades. This was the first time any singer-songwriter has won the prize, and the first American to win in more than 20 years. The prize was awarded to him "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition," as stated by the nominating committee.

As you can imagine, the decision was quite the surprise. While Dylan was always given a chance, an outside chance, to win the prize, the expectation was that an author of some sort would win, much like the past 100 winners have been. Instead, the award found its way to the one of the most influential American musicians of all time, a man who wrote countless ballads of American culture, anti-war sentiment, and civil rights, just to name a few. Almost everyone knows one of his iconic lines, whether they know they're from him or not. For the first musician to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, Bob Dylan is an exemplary selection.

More importantly, however, is that through the selection of Bob Dylan, the definition of literature has evolved. Merriam-Webster contains many definitions of literature, the most robust of them being: writings in prose or verse; especially: writings having excellence of form or expression and expressing ideas of permanent or universal interest. Simply put, literature is great writing, writing that becomes well-recognized and remembered. In my opinion, great music can often be placed alongside great literature. Of course, not all of the finest musical pieces can be literature; many pieces lack any words at all. But in the case of Bob Dylan, the melodies and sounds of his music only complemented what was often excellent lyrics.

What I'm most interested in is, how far will the Nobel Prize in Literature go in terms of rewarding others in the music industry? I don't expect them to be giving the prize to a musician every year; in fact, I don't leave it out of the realm of possibility that this award was given as a one-time thing to drum up outside interest in the prize. But if the Nobel Committee is truly willing to accept that music has a strong foundation in literature, will they go as far as giving the prize to a rapper? If it were up to me, I'd easily hand the prize to one. Rap in its purest form is just spoken word, a specific recitation of poetry. I doubt it's going to happen, but the thought of members of the Swedish Academy listening to Kendrick Lamar is just too funny to dismiss entirely.

No matter who wins in the next 20 years, authors or singer-songwriters, the Nobel Committee has opened up a great discussion on literature. It will be defined and redefined endlessly, and the upcoming winners will impact the changing (or unchanging) ideologies of literature. Will we see more musicians winning the Nobel Prize in Literature? Or will this prove to be a singular event, and that literature and music should stand as separate entities? The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Panic! At The Disco Announces Breakup After 19 Years

Band Makes Breakup Announcement Official: 'Will Be No More'

panic at the disco

It's the end of an era. Originally formed in 2004 by friends in Las Vegas, Panic! At The Disco is no more.

Brendon Urie announced on Instagram that the band will be coming to an end after the upcoming Europe tour. He said that he and his wife are expecting a baby, and the life change weighed heavily in his mind to come to this decision. "Sometimes a journey must end for a new one to begin," he said.

Keep Reading... Show less
Content Inspiration

Top 3 Response Articles of This Week

Odyssey's response writer community is growing- read what our new writers have to say!


Each week, more response writers are joining the Odyssey community. We're excited to spotlight their voices on as they engage in constructive dialogue with our community. Here are the top three response articles of last week:

Keep Reading... Show less

To Mom

There are days when you just need your mom

To Mom

There really is no way to prepare yourself for the loss of someone. Imagine that someone being the one who carried you for 9th months in their belly, taught you how to walk, fought with you about little things that only a mother and daughter relationship could understand. You can have a countless number of father figures in your life, but really as my mom always said, " you only get one mom."

Keep Reading... Show less

The Way People In Society are Dating is Why I Don't Date

I need someone to show that they want me for me, not that they're using me to chase the idea of being in a relationship.

The Way People In Society are Dating is Why I Don't Date

You hear your phone go off. He's asking you to hang out. Then, of course, you get the advice of your friends to decipher this text. Is it just hanging out or is it more than hanging out? You've probably done this at least once in your life or at least seen a tweet where someone posted their screenshots with a potential love interest.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

Winter Break As Told By 'Friends'

Is a month at home too much to handle?


If you're anything like me, winter break is a much-needed light at the end of the tunnel after a long, stressful semester. Working hard for 15 weeks can really take a toll on a person mentally, physically AND emotionally. It's a nice change of pace to be back at home with your family and friends, but after a couple weeks, it can get, well... boring.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments