There has been much discussion about Bob Dylan’s being awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature. Are his songs literature? Here’s how he addressed the issue in his speech at the Nobel Banquet on Dec. 10. Dylan did not attend; his speech was read by the United States Ambassador to Sweden, Azita Raj.
“I was out on the road when I received this surprising news, and it took me more than a few minutes to properly process it. I began to think about William Shakespeare, the great literary figure. I would reckon he thought of himself as a dramatist. The thought that he was writing literature couldn't have entered his head. . . . But, like Shakespeare, I too am often occupied with the pursuit of my creative endeavors and dealing with all aspects of life's mundane matters. . . . Some things never change, even in 400 years.
“Not once have I ever had the time to ask myself, ‘Are my songs literature?’
“So, I do thank the Swedish Academy, both for taking the time to consider that very question, and, ultimately, for providing such a wonderful answer.”
For the full speech, go to https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/2016/dylan-speech.html.