Some have questioned whether the Nobel Committee would ever award the
Literature Prize to a "song and dance" man. Indeed, in 1986 Dylan himself, ever
prescient, allowed that he wasn't going to be a rock and roll singer Nobel laureate.
The Campaign Committee issued a press release to publicize the nomination.
Compiled: November 3, 1996
Headline News reports that Bob Dylan has been
nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature!!
to my suprise i read in the "Dagbladet" (Norwegian newspaper), that Bob has been nominated as a candidate for the Nobel literature prize.
this was done, after a letter which were send by American writers Allen Ginsberg and John Bauldie, to the literature professor Gordon Ball, who then formally send a letter to the Nobel committee.
its a little bit complicated, but there is also a Norwegian group of people who has been trying to get as many as possible to nominate Dylan. among these people there is Reidar IndrebÝ. (bless him! :))
among other Gordon Ball wrote: "since the beginning of the 1960`s Bob Dylan through words and music has created a borderless universe with his art. it has reached all over the earth, and has changed the history."
i guess there is a long way to the prize for Bob, there is app. 300 each year which get nominated. but what triumph for his art if he gets the prize!
okay, enough for this time, anyone has a comment?
God bless Mr. Ginsberg and Mr. Bauldie. It's about time, no? Now maybe we can move towards integrating his songs into the school lit curriculum. Let's see, we could start out in fifth grade with "Eternal Circle": how circularity is used in poems, and how simple words can describe an atmosphere so sharply.
Feeling lightheaded and idealistic
Short article in Wellington's morning paper The Dominion under the heading DYLAN NOMINATED FOR NOBEL. small photo included.
Bob Dylan fans in Norway have managed to get the American singer nominated for the 1997 Nobel prize for literature. One fan, Reidar Indreboe, said Gordon Ball, a professor at the Virginia Military Institute, nominated Dylan on behalf of five fans who began their campaign in January. Nominations must be made by members of the Swedish Academy, other countries' academies, professors of literature or history and former Nobel laureates. Asked in an interview on BBC radio to cite a memorable line from a Dylan song, Ball offered: "Sometimes even the president of the United States must have to stand naked".Rob Zorn
Ben Taylor (firstname.lastname@example.org) wrote: > Does "literature" mean that Dylan has been nominated for "Tarantula" and > album liner notes only, and not for his music lyrics? How can we be sure > all the judges will have read Tarantula before reaching a decision when > there have only ever been four confirmed reported instances of > individuals having completed the book?Dear Ben,
Presumably Bob read it, at least once.
Obviously, you've read it.
I've read it.
Who is the other one?
I just extracted `Tarantula' from my bookshelves. My copy was published in 1973. I remember it as being unreadable. If he wants the Nobel he had better hide it. And R.S.Thomas is already nominated by the Welsh.
The following article appeared in today's edition of the Daily Telegraph, here in Australia.
Sixties poetic musician Bob Dylan pervades modern culture. Barely a day goes by when his words are not played upon or quoted in newspapers, magazines or on screen.And this from CD ROM encylopaedia:
On this basis, a group of Norwegian Dylan fans has managed to get the popular American singer nominated for the 1997 Nobel Prize for Literature.
Dylan is responsible for such diverse creations as the 20lb of Headlines feature in Mojo, the Simple Twist of Fate film title, and the regular Mighty Quinn headline on the Sun's sports pages - whether the sub-editors realise it or not.
He was even quoted by John Archer, on BBC Radio 4s country soap, The Archers, recently.
And the Nobel Prize has featured in Dylan's thinking - although his only known reference was to the peace version rather than the literary award.
In 1991, he was lauded for winning a cultural award in France, a Rock n Roll Hall of Fame induction, and a lifetime achievement Grammy.
Dylan replied, "Yeah, but you're not talking about Nobel Peace Prizes, you know. Come on let's ... you know, really."
The average value of each prize began at about $30,000 and was about $930,000 in 1994. Nobel laureates in literature have included historians, critics, and philosophers as well as novelists, poets, dramatists, and essayists. The peace prize has been awarded to individuals and to organizations.Glenn C.
email@example.com wrote: : No it will be for his songwriting and to a lesser extent the book and the : liner notes - N.-Prizes are given out for lifetime outputs (though : sometimes they say they give it to someone for specific work) : : And yes, if the academy takes the nomination at all seriously (which they : may or may not) they will read tarantula. To be in the academy you've got : to be pretty dedicated. When they gave the prize to that Egyptian novelist : they had some of the members translate the work so that they could all : read the novels well before the works were ever translated to English, : Swedish or pretty much any other language. These folks are serious. : Lets hope they LISTEN to the albums though-- Dylan on paper is not gonna : win anything (and they probably will).All the albums? Doubt it. Anyone with more than 500 CDs out before you even turn to vinyl has a lot of output for any committee to listen to.
And everyone thought the lutefisk irrelevant. EDLIS must foreshadow events before they become public. Scandinavians are very serious. And there are more EDLIS agents as a proportion of population in Scandinavia than in any other region.
Rev Noebel too...
Amazing what you can read between the lines of this Newsgroup if your eyes are open...
Craig -- Man, it's just a wide circle a silly tongues and it aint important at all - Don let nobody block your head off - Don let no one weave a wall in front of yer eyes - Don let no one teach yuh what t call things - Just get up in the mornin an go - Just open your eyes an walk - Forget the silly talk...
I just got back from holiday (vacation for American readers) to find that I am an American writer. It's a weird feeling. I've come over all laconic, have started to smoke Camel cigarettes and am using an old Smith Corona typewriter fed with toilet roll to write this note.
The Nobel nomination is a long term project. It now needs a determined lobby of support from professors, politicians and men of world influence (really, it does) to help convince the committee of the worthiness of the nominee. Anyone who can help, or knows anyone who can help, or who can make contact with Bob-loving professors, politicians and men of world influence can write to me or to one of the organisers of the campaign:
When I was asked to help support the campaign a few months back, a target of seven years was set for the project to take shape. I'm sure you'll agree that the nomination itself has attracted an admirable amount of publicity.
************************************************************** John Bauldie The Telegraph firstname.lastname@example.org **************************************************************
John Gasmann Jensen (email@example.com) wrote: : William C. Parr wrote: : > 1) I'm ROTFL about Bauldie as "American Author." Perhaps John Jensen has : > some information we haven't heard about. Or perhaps John Bauldie will : > clarify this for us (smiling). : i was refering to a article in a Norwegian newspaper, and to tell you : the truth, i dont know that much about American art/whatever. :-) : i dont know anything about mr. Bauldie, what is he? : well i know a little about Dylan.!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-)John Bauldie is another military man, like the professor, but I think he works on telecommunications for the American Military-Industrial Complex, something of an expert on telegraphy, or whatever replaced that amongst the masters of war. He may be a Scandinavian dynamite smuggler too at Rev. Noebel's plant. That is all secret though, he poses as someone else entirely.
He sometimes posts here under the false name John Bauldie. He wraps his lutefisk in Norwegian newspapers, which may be a clue as to his real nationality.
In order to preserve secrecy and to avoid anyone else reading this I must ask you to eat your computer monitor now, chewing every last bit. Thank you.
A couple of reasons why Bob Dylan did not win the 1996 Nobel Prize:
-- he probably wasn't even in the running. The news of his nomination has only just come out in the past ten days or so, so I assume that the nomination itself is quite recent. The Nobel Committee takes its time: it actually reads the works of those it's considering. Dylan would be eligible in 1997 at the earliest.
-- last year's winner was Seamus Heaney, an Irish male poet. The Nobel likes to scatter things around. This year the winner is a Polish female poet. Likely rotation suggests that next year will be an Indian male novelist. It may be quite a few years before a male poet from a western country comes around again.
On Mon, 30 Sep 1996 18:47:41 -0400, Tom Lace (tomlace@WESTOL.COM) wrote: >While I'm a huge fan of Bob's, I was quite surprised to hear of his Nobel >Prize for Literature nomination. Not dissappointed, but surprised. I've >some background in literature, and have read works by a number of previous >winners and nominees, and have heard just about everything of Bob's as >well. Dylan's work doesn't seem, to me,to be in the same genre. > >I'm wondering if there are other fans out there with a traditional >literature background that have thoughts on this? I think I know what the >thoughts are, and what responses will follow, from those without this >background.When I first heard about the nomination I said the same exact thing. I know a tad bit about some of the books nominated for the Nobel, and they aren't in the same category.
It is nice, however, to see something that has always been very conservative open itself up a little and nominate Dylan, a "liberal, but to a degree" type writer.
Lars Brundin (firstname.lastname@example.org) wrote: > There's a new doctor's thesis out in Sweden which, in part, deals with > Dylan. Essentially, the author says that Dylan's "poetry" cannot stand > without its music. He even says that the lyrics consist of a number of > lines without reciprocal connection, thus they don't work as poetry in > their own right! How about that?It's a very reasonable point. In many of Dylan's songs, the aesthetic unity comes from the music and the vocal performance, not from the words. That's why their songs, not poems. That's why he's a songwriter, not a poet.
Well, as for the Nobel Prize it is next year he'll come in question The nominations must be made before February 1st and Dylan's didn't come in until August 30th. So all the interest, all the hopes were really in vain this year. Besides it's highly unlikely that he'll ever recieve this prize...
Lars of Sweden
email@example.com wrote: : In article <firstname.lastname@example.org>, email@example.com wrote: : > >John Bauldie is another military man, like the professor, but I think : > >he works on telecommunications for the American Military-Industrial : > >Complex, something of an expert on telegraphy, or whatever replaced : > >that amongst the masters of war. He may be a Scandinavian dynamite : > >smuggler too at Rev. Noebel's plant. That is all secret though, he : > I guess Rev Noebel is famous for trying to change his ways with his : > [From the end of one of Rev Noebel's secret handbooks, p. 245-9.] : Is this a jooke that I'm not in on? Alfred Nobel died about a hundredYes Johannes, you spotted it and you win the prize! More of a jokette than a jooke, but Rev. Noebel does exist. Call it foreshadowing.
Rev. Noebel has been giving his opinion on Dylan for decades. So has John Bauldie. The former writes on communist subversion in America through pop music. The latter edits the Dylan fanzine The Telegraph. Both are major icons in Dylanological circles. Opposite ends of the spectrum. Bookends?
I explained all this in e-mail to the original poster, assuming most readers recognise Bauldie/Noebel/Nobel et al. Sorry if any innocent bystanders took anything seriously. EDLIS' mission is to misinform.
John Bauldie is still alive, and posts in this forum. Rev. Noebel is still alive and does not post in this forum. Yet. When he gets here Johannes, we're going to get you to point out the jokes to him, ok? It will be an uphill task.
Alfred Nobel liked jokes. Especially satire. Door knobs indeed!
Craig -- Now, if someone offers me a joke I just say no thanks. I try to tell it like it is And keep away from pranks. Now everytime you know when the well breaks down I just go pump on it some Rose Marie, she likes to go to big places And just set there waitin' for me to come. Goin' to Acapulco Goin' on the run. Goin' down to see soccer Goin' to have some fun. Yeah Goin' to have some fun...
"I always knew I was never gonna be one'a them rock n roll singers to win any No-bel prize.... That what they call it? No-bel prize?"
-Bob Dylan, "Hearts of Fire", 1986
He never ceases to amaze.
A bit of Nobel info. Professor Gordon Ball, who nominated Bob, apparently read the ad in The Telegraph appealing for support. All nominations must be sent to the Swedish academy before February 1. Later in the spring a Nobel prize committee within the academy reduces the numbers of those nominated to a list of five names which is then passed on to the members in the academy so that they can read works by these authors during their summer holiday. Then the academy decides which one of these five will receive the Nobel prize. The announcement of the 1997 winner will be made in the first week of October. All of which makes you wonder if those old Swedes have CD players, and if they'll be given advice on the right tracks to play . . . I mean, what if one of them cues up I'll Remember You?
************************************************************** John Bauldie The Telegraph firstname.lastname@example.org **************************************************************
For a radio program I work on in Australia (a writing program called Final Draft) I reviewed the Paul Williams book Watching the River Flow in the context of the Nobel Prize, thought you might get a laugh.
_____________________________ Final Draft review 2SER-FM by Bruce WilliamsFirst, all the wrong footy teams won in the finals, then there was the farce of the ARIA awards, but nothing, nothing prepared Bruce Williams for the shock news that Bob Dylan did not win this year's Nobel Prize for literature.
Take it away, Bruce ...
________________________________And that's exactly what they did.
There's only one possible explanation for why Bob Dylan, nominated for the first time for the world cup of creativity, was robbed of his laurels.
It's an international anti-Jewish plot orchestrated by David Irving, who should be denied entry to this, or any other country unless or until Bob Dylan gets the guernsey he so richly and so obviously deserves.
And who got it - some Polish Sheila who writes poetry - can you believe it?
And what has she got that Bob Dylan hasn't? I mean we're talking about the guy who wrote:
We stayed up all night - till the break of dawn.
We lived with them in Montague street
in the basement down the stairs.
and my personal favourite
Ring them bells
for the blind and the deaf
Well, as a salve for the disappointment that every single decent human being must be feeling right about now, Omnibus Press has released a collection of essays and journalism by Paul Williams called Watching the River Flow. It's really good.
It begins with a review of the 1966 double album Blonde on Blonde, and finishes with an account of the 1995 Paradise Lost tour, which featured Patti Smith, REM, and wicked uncle Bob.
But the centre-piece, and why Bobists will, and non-Bobists should by this book, is the long essay first published in the late seventies, called: What Happened?
Like so much of the work of Dylan himself, this essay, amounting to a small book's worth, was conceived and constructed double-quick. Begun in November 1979, it was in the bookshops before Christmas.
It's a weird piece of writing.
Paul Williams tries to figure out how it happened that iconoclast Dylan got god, and not any god, but the god of born-again USA.
It's not a biography, he's got no access to letters or interviews with pals, he just saw a bunch of concerts, listened to a bunch of recordings, and came up with a bunch of really interesting conclusions. It's journalism, analytical and biased all at once. It's fanzine writing, describing his impressions of a series of concerts scarcely a month old, but its audience is obviously not just the converted. It's an odd one.
Williams points out that two major turn-arounds in Dylan's career happened after similar sequences of events - a change of direction, a group of terrific albums, followed by a long and tiring touring schedule.
The first break in continuity was the motorcycle accident shortly after the release of Blonde on Blonde, and the second was his conversion, following Street Legal and the Alimony tour.
The first marked the beginning of a long period of seeking for salvation through romantic love, and the second marked a period of seeking salvation through, well, salvation.
Williams explores the way Dylan over the years has characterised women, and how he has set himself up in relation to his lovers in his songs. He builds a strong case for a turn-around. But he falls just short of the point.
Either tiresomely or heroically, Dylan paints himself, time and again, particularly in the 70s, as the trickster, the unpredictable male loner in a mythology dominated by women. His conversion to Christianity is represents a leap from matriarchal mythologies, back to Dad.
It's strange, Williams seems on the verge of saying this so many times, but it never quite comes out.
Like most of the collection, this essay is at once insightful, adoring and critical, taking itself seriously enough for you to want to join in, but not so seriously for you to want to stick the pin in.
And Bob read it himself, buying 100 or so copies to distribute amongst his friends - or should that be so-called friends.
The next story in the collection shows Paul Williams invited back stage where an appreciative Dylan reads to him the lyrics a new song he's proud of. Every Grain of Sand.
If Paul Williams can get that lucky, surely Bob can land a little thing like the Nobel Prize. Oh well, as they say, there's always next year.
The poet behind his rightful time? Dylan and the Nobel
We now know that Dylan did _not_ get the 1996 Nobel Prize for Literature. On the other hand, we also know he was officially nominated for the prize, by Professor Gordon Ball with the support of Allen Ginsberg. This means that the members of the Swedish Academy must, at the least, have had to sit and look seriously at Dylan's work - read the lyrics and, perhaps, even listen to the records. Let us hope that the pressure will be kept up in future years (rmd has a role to play here!), and that Dylan's name will in future be regularly there on the list of Nobel nominees.
If Mr Zimmermann's admirers are to lobby successfully, some hard work will have to be done. Dylan certainly has his converts in the academic world - e.g. Christopher Ricks and Eric Griffiths - but there are also those who refuse to give serious attention to writing which they associate with the supposedly trivial world of rock'n'roll. As a former academic (Univ. of Coimbra, Portugal, 1980-87), I am more than willing to take part in any campaign. For now, I'd like to make a few points, just as a beginning:
1. It is not unprecedented in history for a poet to make his or her mark through the medium of song. Examples include John Donne ('Songs and Sonnets'), Robert Burns and Rabindranath Tagore. Many of Yeats' poems have been set to music as Irish folk songs. Walter Scott began his writing career as a collector of the Scottish traditional ballads - which are themselves, although anonymous, perfect examples of poetry-as-song, and part of the folk narrative tradition that Dylan himself draws on ('ballad' in Dylan, as in titles like 'Ballad of Hollis Brown', means _not_ 'sentimental song', but 'narrative poem'). It is simply not true historically that there has always been a rigid dividing-line between 'poetry' and 'song'.
2. One argument in Dylan's favour, at least in my view, is simple but crucial: his _use of rhyme_. Over the 20th century, English-language poetry very largely abandoned the use of rhyme (or of the old rhythmic alternative, blank verse) - one could argue, with disastrous results. The process began in the 19th century with Walt Whitman, who at least had a strong sense of rhythm to compensate; but its generalization has, in my opinion, produced torrents of flat, prosaic and unmemorable verse. Poetry in some other languages, such as Spanish or Portuguese, can survive the absence of rhyme and remain musical; English is not an innately musical language and, one might submit, needs that discipline of rhyme, or of a regular form like blank verse, if poetry is to be something more than left-justified prose. As I see it, the genuine English-language poets of this century have been few: in England, Thomas Hardy; in Ireland, W.B. Yeats; in the US, Hart Crane, T.S. Eliot and Robert Frost. None of these completely abandoned the tradition of rhyme/blank verse; Yeats and Frost, in particular, remained wedded to traditional forms. Frost died in 1963, and I am not sure that there has since been any continuator of the art of expressive speech-in-rhyme - except Bob Dylan. Detailed examination of Dylan's use of rhyme is for another time, but I think it's a far from inappreciable point. Just one example: 'I am a lonesome hobo, without family or friends/Where another man's life might begin, that's exactly where mine ends'. Surely 'ends' here is far more powerful than 'stops' or 'closes' would have been; the rhyme brings 'ends', with its sense of finality, into direct relation with 'friends', so linking the ideas of friendlessness and hopelessness and reinforcing the sensation of stark desolation that surrounds the 'hobo'.
3. The development of Dylan's work over the years is another important aspect. I think there is a fair case for saying that the best of the later Dylan (which I take as the period from 'Blood on the Tracks' on, or approximately that covered by 'Greatest Hits III') is actually superior in songwriting quality to the best of the 'famous' earlier Dylan. Again, this would have to be shown in detail, but I would stick my neck out and say that later songs like 'Tangled Up In Blue', 'Isis', 'Every Grain of Sand', 'Jokerman', 'Brownsville Girl' or 'Dignity' actually display clearer structure, more interesting narrative, more focused vision and, indeed, better command of English grammar than more celebrated songs like 'Gates of Eden', 'Desolation Row' or 'Visions of Johanna'. This is not to devalue the early songs, far from it, nor to deny that there is a fair amount of mediocre material in the later years. But I think that where Dylan has made an effort the quality of the best later songs is more consistent, with less unevenness, less vagueness, and a surer sense of where the song's creative dynamic is heading. More for another time: but I'd still say that a song like 'Jokerman' - scarcely-ever covered and known mostly to hard-core Dylan fans - has a far better claim to be considered Dylan's best-ever song than, say, the universally known 'Like a Rolling Stone'. Of course, it might also help if Dylan thought about writing a few more songs!
4. Finally, one aspect of Dylan's writing that deserves pointing up is his ability to take an apparently dead phrase or set expression and bring it back to life - through surprising juxtapositions or new contexts which breathe new force into a dead metaphor. I'll give a few examples, all of them, by the way, from the later Dylan:
'Heart of mine, be still/You can play with fire, but you'll get the bill' ('Heart of Mine') (the set phrase 'play with fire' is given new life, as 'fire' suggests physical damage and a bill to pay; after this reanimation of the literal sense, a new metaphor is introduced: the consequences of a failed relationship are as unpleasant as an unwelcome bill) 'The Book of Leviticus and Deuteronomy, The law of the jungle and the sea Are your only teachers' ('Jokerman') ('Law of the jungle' is a set phrase, suggesting Darwinism and the survival of the fittest; 'law of the sea' is an actual legal term; and the biblical books mentioned set out the divine law of the Old Testament. Dylan runs together three different types of law - natural, juridical and religious - suggesting that institutional law ('the law of the sea') is no better or fairer than the non-human law of the jungle, and also casting doubt over the authoritarian divine law of the Pentateuch) 'Feel the pulse and vibration and the rumbling force - Somebody is out there beating on a dead horse' ('Man in a Long Black Coat') (Dylan brings to life the tired metaphor of 'flogging a dead horse', so that we feel and hear the act of beating itself. The image suggests a sterile, worn-out community which has lost all creativity and can do nothing but repeat useless gestures) * * *These are just a few ideas, and I'd appreciate any comments, either on what I've written or on the general subject of Dylan and the Nobel. Perhaps some time next century he will indeed get the award, and the sky will crack its palms in naked wonder!
Please email me!
'but would not change my free thoughts for a throne' (Byron)
It's not that i care that much about who wins nobel prizes, but i spent a good week in searching the deep, hidden archives of pop music trivia in my brain for other examples of "songwriters" winning the prizes meant for "novelists" and "poets". only case i could think of was a vague memory of french balladeer georges brassens winning some big [french] award in the early 60's. is my memory playing tricks on me, or did this actually happen? it wouldn't be MUCH of a precedent, but it would be A precedent... or can anyone think of some other case of songwriters winning literary awards?
face it, people, bob will just be another giant of 20th cent. lit. who never got the nobel prize (and that's most of them anyway: Joyce, Musil, Borges, Kafka, Svevo, Hasek et al.) But since Toni Morrison's [polite snicker] got hers, i can die happy [manic laughter].
Dan Mayshar West Jerusalem