For those who endorse awarding Bob Dylan the Nobel Prize in Literature, the question might be: Why did the Swedish Academy wait so long? For those who oppose: A songwriter?
But there is never an expiration date on the acknowledgment of excellence, and Mr. Dylan is much more than a songwriter. One may quarrel that the award delays what appears to be the inevitable recognition by the academy of novelists Haruki Murakami and Philip Roth, among others, or that a composer for musical theater like Stephen Sondheim is the place to begin if songs are considered literature. But no one who knows Mr. Dylan’s work and its impact on his and subsequent generations of authors and composers can dispute its high quality.
To the point of whether the words to songs comprise literature: It is the rare lyric that can stand on its own without the rhythm the music provides…
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