The legendary Bob Dylan is carving his name into history again, but not for the likes of the music industry.
At 75 years old, Dylan is joining the long list of Nobel Prize winners for Literature including T.S. Eliot, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Samuel Beckett, and Toni Morrison. “Mr. Dylan is perhaps the most radical choice in the 115-year history of the literature prize,” according to the New York Times.
“In choosing a popular musician for one of the most coveted prizes in the literary world, the Swedish Academy dramatically redefined the boundaries of literature, setting off a debate about whether song lyrics have the same artistic value as poetry or novels”
Poet Billy Collins commented on Dylan’s one of a kind lyrics and said, unlike most musicians who need music attached to their lyrics Dylan is “in the 2 percent club of songwriters whose lyrics are interesting on page” without instrumentals.
Sara Danius, one of the 18 members of the Swedish Academy awarding Dylan with this honor, commented on the decision to choose Dylan comparing him to distinguished English speakers like Homer and Sappho saying he is “a great poet in the English-speaking tradition.”
Many people, including literary icon, Irvine Welsh, are scoffing at this rather strange choice for the Nobel Prize for Literature, arguing there is a lack of tradition in their choosing.
This wouldn’t be the first time in history the committee chose someone from outside the literary box. In 1953, Winston Churchill was chosen for his notable political speeches and just last year, Svetlana Alexievich received the award for her excellent journalism narratives.
While people debate about the definition of literature, Ms. Danius pipes up with a perfect Dylan inspired response to those who disagree saying “The times they are a-changing, perhaps.”