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Bob Dylan Wins Nobel Prize for Literature
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Wildflower



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2016 2:17 pm    Post subject: Bob Dylan Wins Nobel Prize for Literature Reply with quote

Bob Dylan Wins Nobel Prize for Literature

Bob Dylan has been awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature. The Nobel committee said Dylan earned the honor “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.” The accolade was announced Thursday afternoon in Stockholm. Sara Danils, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, called the 75-year-old singer-songwriter “a great sampler… and for 54 years he has been at it, reinventing himself.” She noted in particular that Blonde on Blonde, Dylan’s seventh studio album, is “an extraordinary example of his brilliant way of rhyming, putting together refrains, and his brilliant way of thinking.”

https://www.theguardian.com/books/live/2016/oct/13/nobel-prize-in-literature-2016-liveblog
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Anémone



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2016 5:49 pm    Post subject: Bob Dylan Wins Nobel Prize for Literature Reply with quote

At first I thought it was a joke.

Awarding the Nobel Prize for Literature to a writer of Protest Songs, good as they may be, is putting him on the same level as Camus or Vargas-Llosa, or some of the more recent Nobel prise winners. This is beyond my understanding!!!
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murat



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2016 5:54 pm    Post subject: Bob Dylan Wins Nobel Prize for Literature Reply with quote

I agree! We're living in a terrific era - anything goes! A composer/singer awarded the Literature prize. Dylan is a great musician and poet (he love Rimbaud), but here we're talking about Literature. Dylan's name will come in stark contrast with Camus, Pasternack, Neruda, Soljenitsyne , Gide ,Faulkner , Anatole France, Hemingway etc.

Whereas Zola, Tchekhov, Tolstoi , Henry James, Hardy, Zweig, Paul Valery , Joyce , Virginai Woolf etc.never got that prize!

Note that the Academy refused to award that prize to Freud.

Well, if we extend the field to singers/songwriters, I suggest Jacques Brel and Léo Ferré.
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Anémone



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2016 5:55 pm    Post subject: Bob Dylan Wins Nobel Prize for Literature Reply with quote

Then I would suggest my favourite poets Brel, Brassens and Béart, without hesitation!
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Wildflower



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2016 6:03 pm    Post subject: Bob Dylan Wins Nobel Prize for Literature Reply with quote

I hate to contradict you guys, but Bob Dylan's songs carry a universal political message that Brel, Brassens, Béart et al. don't. Or their messages (like Jean Ferrat's "Potemkine" and "Nuit et Brouillard") are limited to Europe. Bob Dylan's songs are universal (With God on our side, Blowing in the Wind, etc.)

At any rate, he deserves it more than Kissinger and Lê Duc Tho deserved the Nobel Peace Prize. Or Obama, for that matter!
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Anémone



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2016 6:58 pm    Post subject: Bob Dylan Wins Nobel Prize for Literature Reply with quote

I was mentioning my "favourite poets" in response to Murat who suggested the possibility of extending the prize to songwriters.

It seems to me, though I may be wrong, that this Nobel Prize is awarded a literary work of universal scope, but not especially political. It seems things are changing, with the awarding last year to the Byelorussian essay writer. In any case, for me Bob Dylan is out of bounds. He's a talented singer and poet, politically involved, who left his mark on a whole generation (I still have a nice collection of Joan Baez songs, with the musical scores, that Dylan had written), but he's not a writer in the general sense of the term. How can you compare him to Le Clézio, Kundera or Churchill (who wrote admirably)? It's impossible!
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2016 3:49 am    Post subject: Bob Dylan Wins Nobel Prize for Literature Reply with quote

Next year, the prize will be awarded to the Beatles. To John Lennon for "Imagine". super grin
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Xuân Phong



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2016 2:28 pm    Post subject: Bob Dylan’s Nobel Triumph in a Time of Trump Reply with quote

http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/bob-dylans-nobel-triumph-in-a-time-of-trump

Bob Dylan’s Nobel Triumph in a Time of Trump
By Adam Gopnik

As a great American writer named Roth—still not, though perhaps yet to be, Nobeled—once wrote, American reality perpetually astonishes our capacity to satirize it, and so this morning, as my colleague David Remnick also noted, broke with a double whammy of the indigenous-preposterous. Donald Trump and what one exasperated news outlet accurately called his squalid stooges were spinning desperately to negate the power of the testimony of women who said that Trump had kissed or grabbed them without even asking first if he might. Trump’s apologists rightly emphasized that an allegation is not proof—though they ostentatiously missed the point that this is not a case of allegations made in a vacuum of credibility but of unstinting agreement with the very enthusiastic description that Trump had offered of his own conduct. In a mordant and also purely American paradox, Trump has been insisting, at the debate and elsewhere, that he was lying when he bragged to Billy Bush, and the women were coming forward to say that no, for once Donald Trump had actually been telling the truth.

While this was going on, the news arrived that the most unlikely name on the list of potential Nobelists had actually won the award. Dylan for the Nobel, like Trump for President, had the true American note of improbability—though it was not merely generational to think that, if one was impossibly bad, the other was improbably wonderful. Still, a reasonable case can be made that Dylan, a songwriter who changed the language of his form, and a singer who altered our ideas of what great singing can be, and so deserves almost every accolade going, does not, perhaps, deserve this one in particular. Songwriting is a great art form deserving of its own awards, but it is not the same as, or really comparable to, what we usually mean by “literature.” Dylan is a great melodist and a great singer, and those gifts are inseparable from, and in some ways even superior to, his words. One also shudders at the coming Dylan response, given that, when he got his first honorary degree, back in 1970, at Princeton, he wrote a derisive song, “Day of the Locusts,” about the people who had given it to him. “The locusts sang / and they were singing for me,” he announced, implying that they were not singing for the poor professors onstage with him. (“The man standing next to me / his head was exploding / I was praying the pieces / Wouldn’t fall on me,” Dylan added, ungallantly.) Although Dylan’s familiar sullenness has by now morphed into Dylan’s permanent inscrutability—one may expect twenty minutes of sublime mumbling in Sweden—this is still Dylan. Still, let it be said at once that Dylan’s likening of the great Canadian Leonard Cohen to Irving Berlin, reported in this week’s David Remnick Profile, is one of the most inspired pieces of music criticism, and telling analogies, you will ever find. (Perhaps Cohen ought to be a laureate—but a Canadian already became one recently; they won’t give the country another.)

There may, however, have been something genuinely significant in the bizarre 8 A.M. juxtaposition. The essential contradiction of American life over the past thirty or so years has been that, while the right wing and forces of reaction have had everything their way politically, culturally, the left, or at least the old counterculture, has swept all before it. Dylan’s coronation by the Swedish Academy—which, it may be said, pretty much no one alive in 1965 would have then imagined possible—is just one more sign of the absoluteness of this triumph. Lenny Bruce was arrested in the sixties for saying “cocksucker” in a night club in Philadelphia; as I wrote a few years ago, “by the time Ronald Reagan was President, you could say ‘cocksucker’ in any comedy club in Philadelphia; or, rather, by the time you could say ‘cocksucker’ in any comedy club in Philadelphia, Ronald Reagan was President.”

Certainly, one way to see the current insanity of our circumstances is in part through this lens: Trump and his most fanatical followers represent the last remnant of the old cultural dispensation, which asserts its right to harass women—what Trump boasts of doing might once have been excused as “making a pass”—and frisk black people and all the rest. Long crushed under the weight of cultural marginalization, believing themselves marginalized by a black President, and with a female President on the way, those who feel themselves unmanned, not to say uncountried, turn to the big boss man who promises to reëmpower them. It’s an old story, and a brutal one. It is, as the Marxists used to say, no accident that, at the very moment when the old counterculture claims its biggest prize yet, the anti-counterculture makes its most vociferous and unhinged protest.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2016 2:34 pm    Post subject: How Bob Dylan Rewrote America’s Songbook Reply with quote

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/10/13/how-bob-dylan-rewrote-america-s-songbook.html?via=newsletter&source=DDAfternoon

How Bob Dylan Rewrote America’s Songbook
You’ll hear chatter about how the Nobel folks went off the rails by giving a songwriter the literature prize, but in fact they’re honoring a truly unique artistic accomplishment.

So how many stories about Bob Dylan winning this year’s Nobel Prize for Literature do you think will start with a line from a Dylan song and most likely, “The times they are a changin’”? Because you know a lot of people are going to see this as the ultimate example of the establishment finally acknowledging a contrary, rebellious but particularly literary musical firebrand.

The contrariness, of course, is all on the part of the Swedish Academy at this point—giving their award for literature to a songwriter. Fair play to them, though, because few authors can genuinely claim to have affected more people more profoundly with their art than Bob Dylan has, and certainly no living author has so singlehandedly redrawn and redefined the perimeter of the discipline he or she worked in the way Dylan has.

Almost overnight he taught an entire generation of people to expect more of a song—to expect a lot, in fact. More amazing, he’s kept on stretching our expectations for half a century. From him we learned that songs could be not only about broken hearts, they could break your heart, too. He made us see that pop songs could be serious, and should sometimes be taken seriously, because pop songs could be art, too, without ceasing to be fun.

If Dylan had a singular achievement, in fact, it was to utterly rearrange our ideas of songs—to change the way we defined a song—and to make us see how absurd categories are: I’m not sure he ever wrote a protest song that was also a love song, but I’m sure he tried. A single Dylan song—pick almost any one—could protest, it could mock, it could make you laugh, it could even make you think, and do that all at once.

Dylan was the first songwriter I ever knew to write a song where the person inside the song—the person Dylan is giving voice to—is angry and sneering (“You’ve got a lotta nerve to say you are my friend”). And the even greater thing, to my ear at least, was that there was a weird kind of jubilance about the lyric, not like he was happy exactly, but there was joy in the malice. Whoever he was sticking it to, he was digging it. Miraculously, the exhilaration I felt the first time I heard that song is with me every time I hear it now. It never stales. How is that possible?

Late in life, Dylan did something even more profound with his music: He pulled back the curtain a bit and let us see how songs—his kind of song anyway, homemade things, handmade and handed down from one generation to the next—are not so much composed as assimilated. Some lines are borrowed, some are original, but the end result should be something that sounds both familiar and strange all at once, and where, in the ultimate vanishing act, the songwriter vanishes, leaving only the song (and maybe a lingering grin).

This sounds like a strange thing from a man always hailed for his originality and individuality, but with Bob you learned not to assume anything about his next act. Surprise was always his faithful sidekick.

Take “High Water (for Charlie Patton),” which came out in 2001. Since the song is dedicated to the mighty Delta bluesman Charlie Patton and since there’s a Vicksburg reference in one verse and a Clarksdale reference in another, I’ve always assumed that the song is more or less about the 1927 flood that wiped out a lot of Mississippi and Louisiana. But it also mentions Kansas City and characters ranging from the singer Joe Turner to Charles Darwin to lesser lights like Fat Nancy and Bertha Mason, so you’d be safe guessing that this flood is real but also metaphorical and emotional—the kind of cloverleaf cultural intersection that Dylan has staked out as his lyrical turf all his life. But several lines stand out like bones poking through the skin: “Well, the cuckoo is a pretty bird, she warbles as she flies” and a little further down, “I’m getting up in the morning, I believe I’ll dust my broom.” Neither line is original. They each go so far back in time there’s no way to say who first coined them. The first arises in the English folk tradition, and the second is one of those blues lines that gets shoved into songs as the singer needs them (I think of all blues lyrics as like those refrigerator magnet words that you arrange and rearrange to make poetry or grocery lists).

The message I take from this “quoting” habit Dylan has adopted is that it’s his way of saying, “I inherited this language and I work in this tradition, and I’m using it all as best I can and passing it down, and similarly, if I’ve built well, someday someone will borrow what they need from me.” It’s his way of acknowledging that art is a river that we drink from but do not own and that curation is both trust and obligation.

Most interesting to me is that by tipping his hand, revealing his sources, baldly appropriating old song lines, by in essence mocking ego and individuality even as he made his songs simultaneously more transparent and more personal, Dylan has achieved a genuine late life greatness. “High Water” is a very mysterious song, but beguiling, so you keep coming back, trying to unriddle it, and getting drunk on the wordplay instead, all the while laughing because it’s deeply, darkly funny (Dylan is the funniest person since Faulkner to win the Nobel Prize for Literature) with lines like “I can write you poems, make a strong man lose his mind / I’m no pig without a wig, I hope you treat me kind.” The song doesn’t namecheck Edward Lear, but he’s in there somewhere, too.

If you hear anyone start babbling about how Dylan deserved the Nobel because he’s really a poet and not merely a songwriter, slap ’em upside the head for me. Dylan is not a poet. His words don’t do a lot when they’re nailed to a page. Or rather, they do less. But songwriters and poets, while they share superficial similarities, do not do the same thing. Bob Dylan writes songs, and when his words are married to music, that’s plenty—even when the music is minimal: “High Water” rides almost entirely on one chord and never, not once, do you think it sounds monotonous; on the contrary, it’s incantatory, spellbinding, like the wisecracking voice of doom itself: “Things are breaking up out there / High water everywhere.”

For most of his life, he’s been writing and performing songs that redrew the musical landscape. He didn’t just do things that people said couldn’t be done. He did things we didn’t know could be done at all. He fit that hole there never was a hero for.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2016 5:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Bob Dylan Wins Nobel Prize for Literature Reply with quote

Wildflower wrote:
. Or Obama, for that matter!

Initially I was skeptical about this, too. But with more thoughts and hindsight and especially with what's going on now, the decision by the committee made a lot of sense and was indeed wise.

If you think it's easy to unite the people of the US, I got a bridge to sell you. Obama has achieved that no less, even if only for a fleeting moment.
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