Bob Dylan has won the Nobel Prize for Literature “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition,” the Swedish Academy said on Thursday in awarding the 8 million Swedish crown ($927,740) prize.
His songs such as “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “Masters of War,” “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall,” “The Times They Are a-Changin,” “Subterranean Homesick Blues” and “Like a Rolling Stone” captured a spirit of rebellion, dissent and independence. His songs became anthems for the U.S. anti-war and civil rights movements of the 1960s. His impact on popular culture was immense.
He has previously been inducted to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Minnesota Music Hall of Fame, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and Songwriters Hall of Fame, and also won the Pulitzer Prize for “his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power,” in 2008.
The academy’s permanent secretary, Sara Danius, said while Dylan performs his poetry in the form of songs, that’s no different from the ancient Greeks, whose works were often performed to music.
“Bob Dylan writes poetry for the ear,” she said. “But it’s perfectly fine to read his works as poetry.” Dylan is the first American winner of the Nobel literature prize since Toni Morrison in 1993.
About Bob Dylan
Born on May 24, 1941, in Duluth, Minnesota, Dylan grew up in a Jewish middle-class family. By his early 20s, he had taken the folk music world by storm. His complicated career and ever-changing styles took six actors to portray him in the 2007 movie based on his life, “I’m Not There. He won an Academy Award in 2001 for the song “Things Have Changed” and received a lifetime achievement award from the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in 1991. In 2008, he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his contributions to music and American culture.