December 4, 2022

By Hasan Zillur Rahim
New America Media

bob-dylan
Two Nobel Prize winners for literature who are musician poets, Bob Dylan, left, in 2016, and Rabindranath Tagore in 1913.

SAN FRANCISCO (Oct. 17, 2016) — The decision by the Swedish Academy to award Bob Dylan the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition” was lauded by many and lamented by a few. But there was universal acknowledgment that the Academy had broken new ground by awarding the Nobel “for the first time” to a singer-songwriter since the French poet and essayist Sully Prudhomme first won it in 1901.

Mainstream media announced the news with its usual insouciant hyperbole. “It is the first time the honor has gone to a musician,” declared the New York Times. The Los Angeles Times wrote: “Dylan became the first musician to be awarded the Nobel Prize in literature.” According to the Washington Post, “Dylan … is a groundbreaking choice by the Nobel committee to select the first literature laureate whose career has primarily been as a musician.”

Read the entire column at New America Media.

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