The Nobel Prize committee revealed early Thursday morning that Bob Dylan is the 2016 winner in the Literature category, citing his “new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.” Dylan is an undeniably prolific and original writer who has published books, poems and hundreds of songs over his career. But because his primary medium is music, some people are salty about the fact that he won in the “literature” category, despite the literary nature of his lyrics.
In a video interview Sara Danius, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy and a literary scholar explained why the 18-member committee awarded it to the revolutionary songwriter:
“Of course he [deserves] it – he’s just got it. He’s a great poet in the English-speaking tradition. And he is a wonderful sampler, a very original sampler. He embodies the tradition and for 54 years now he has been at it, reinventing himself constantly, creating a new identity.”
She also compared Dylan’s poetry to classic Greek texts: “If you look back, far back, 2,500 years or so, you discover Homer and Sappho and they wrote poetic texts that were meant to be listened to, that were meant to be performed, often with instruments, and it’s the same way with Bob Dylan.”
Fans and critics immediately stormed the Internet to express their feelings on this, and, as is consistent with most of his career, Dylan has elicited a wide variety of responses. Some have offered their heartfelt congratulations while others have been downright snarky. Either way, it seems like everyone has an opinion or a joke about it.