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'Are my songs literature': Bob Dylan thanks Swedish Academy for his Nobel

December 11, 2016 13:30 IST

Oscar-winning singer Bob Dylan has thanked the Nobel Prize committee in a personally penned speech for honouring his songs as “literature”.

The ceremony, which took place in Stockholm, saw singer Patti Smith honouring Dylan with an emotional rendition of his “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall”, reported Entertainment Weekly.

“I’m sorry I can’t be with you in person, but please know that I am most definitely with you in spirit and honoured to be receiving such a prestigious prize,” Dylan said in his acceptance speech, which was read out by the United States Ambassador to Sweden, Azita Raji.

The legendary musician, in his speech, cited his literary influences throughout life including “Kipling, Shaw, Thomas Mann, Pearl Buck, Albert Camus and Hemingway.

“These giants of literature whose works are taught in the schoolroom, housed in libraries around the world and spoken of in reverent tones have always made a deep impression.”

Dylan revealed that he himself didn’t believe when he got to know about the news that he is getting a Nobel Prize.

“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. His words were written for the stage. Meant to be spoken not read.”

In the end, he thanked the Swedish Academy for giving an answer to all the sceptics’ questions about his validity as a writer.

“Each person has an individual, separate identity, a world unto themselves. They can perceive things more clearly. Your honesty and how it relates to the depth of your talent is tried. The fact that the Nobel committee is so small is not lost on me.

“But, like Shakespeare, I too am often occupied with the pursuit of my creative endeavours and dealing with all aspects of life’s mundane matters. 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.”

 

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