Nobel Panel Gives Up On Contacting Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan has gone silent after being awarded the Nobel prize in literature on Thursday.
Sara Danius, the Swedish Academy’s permanent secretary, has given up trying to reach out to Dylan.
“Right now we are doing nothing,” Danius said. “I have called and sent emails to his closest collaborator and received very friendly replies. For now, that is certainly enough.”
But did Dylan already respond to winning this prestigious award, in a nonchalant type of way? On that same night he gave a concert in Las Vegas, and he made no mention of the award. Instead he ended his set with a cover of Frank Sinatra’s Why Try to Change Me Now. Dylan is somewhat known to be called perversity while others admire his persistence in forging his own path.
The Swedish Academy dramatically redefined the boundaries of literature by choosing Dylan as the recipient of the award. By awarding Dylan the award, the academy may also be recognizing that the gap between high art and more commercial creative forms has closed.
“I am not at all worried,” said Danius. “I think he will show up.”
Every 10th of December the Nobel Prize winners are invited to Stockholm to receive their awards from King Carl XVI Gustaf and give a speech.
“If he doesn’t want to come, he won’t come. It will be a big party in any case and the honour belongs to him,” said Danius.
Of course this award doesn’t come without some controversy for Dylan though. He is the first person to receive the award for songwriting and the first American to win since 1993.
Literary scholars have debated whether Dylan’s lyrics can stand on their own as poetry. A high volume of academic work has been devoted to studying his music.
Some writers argue that the literary merits of Dylan’s work are not equal to some of his peers. Novelist Rabih Alameddine took a stab at Dylan on Twitter:
Bob Dylan winning a Nobel in Literature is like Mrs Fields being awarded 3 Michelin stars. This is almost as silly as Winston Churchill.
— Rabih Alameddine (@rabihalameddine) October 13, 2016
French Moroccan writer, Pierre Assouline, described the decision “contemptuous of writers.”
In a webchat with the Guardian, Karl Ove Knausgaard, said, “I’m very divided. I love that the novel committee opens up for other kinds of literature – lyrics and so on. I think that’s brilliant. But knowing that Dylan is the same generation as Pynchon, Philip Roth, Cormac McCarthy, makes it very difficult for me to accept it. I think one of those three should have had it, really. But if they get it next year, it will be fine.”
Dylan will conclude his current tour on November 23rd. He has toured consistently since 1998. With his tour wrapped up in time the question remains: will Dylan attend the Nobel prize banquet?