14 October 2016
Göran R Buckhorn writes:
Yesterday, the Swedish Academy shocked the literary world by giving the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature to the American singer and song writer Bob Dylan. It was the first time since 1993 the prize went to an American – in 1993 Toni Morrison received the prize – and it was the first time ever that the prize was awarded to a musician.
In its citation, the Swedish Academy Permanent Secretary Sara Danius, the first woman on this post since the Academy was founded by King Gustav III in 1786, said that Dylan was awarded the prize “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”.
Bob Dylan, the song writer/poet/author, will receive the prize, 8m Swedish kronor (£742,666; $909,918), from the hands of King Carl XVI Gustaf on 10 December, the Nobel Day. This is not the first time Dylan will meet the King of Sweden. They met in 2000, when the American song writer was awarded the Swedish Polar Music Prize.
As usual, the prize is controversial as some people in the snobbish literary elite around the world do not regard Dylan’s work as ‘literature’. Whether he is a worthy winner or not, we here at HTBS would like to congratulate him and remind you that Dylan has sung about a row boat. In “The Water Is Wide”, an old folk song with Scottish origin, the first four lines read:
The water is wide and I can’t cross over
Neither have I wings that I could fly
Build me a boat that can carry two
And both shall row my love and I.
And here is the song on YouTube: