What we learnt from Dylan’s Nobel Lecture

The times, they are a changin’.

Photo credit: badosa via VisualHunt / CC BY

What was earlier a reserve of novelists, poets and playwrights only, was awarded to a lyricist last year. However, whether he is a poet or a lyricist cannot be ascertained in clear-cut terms. Art is not something to be compartmentalised in water-tight boxes. This is what the 2016 Nobel laureate in Literature has taught us.

Bob Dylan, like all of us, seemed taken aback that this time it was not a Grammy but a Nobel Prize in Literature that awaited him. He took his time to figure out and the result was splendid! He created a new definition for literature.

Dylan accepted his award just in time. Had he not delivered his Nobel speech this month, his almost $1 million would have been forfeited. All we can say after the speech is that it was worth the wait!

“Learned it all in grammar school,” he said, making you wonder how Hibbing, Minn., got such great grade schools. “Principles, sensibilities, and an informed view of the world” he claims to have extracted from “Don Quixote,” “Ivanhoe,” “Robinson Crusoe,” “Gulliver’s Travels,” and “A Tale of Two Cities.” Dylan calls those classics “typical grammar school reading that gave you a way of looking at life, an understanding of human nature, and a standard to measure things by.”

Dylan’s speech was replete with literary references. It reflected his passion not just for music, but for Art in general. In an exceptional way of defining what literature is, Dylan not only justified his award, but also bridged the gap between the page and the stage. He won our hearts all over again.

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