Opinions on: The Nobel Prize in Literature 2016 was awarded to Bob Dylan [ www.literature.gr ]

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”We love Bod Dylan to madness, but we do not place him in our bookcase, we place him in our disc case.”

Zefi Kolia, author



”I was driving when I heard on the radio the announcement that the Nobel Prize of Literature for this year has been awarded to Bob Dylan. The first thing I thought was: Booksellers will mourn this year. To my knowledge there is no version of his lyrics in German. In Greek fortunately there is a very good version of Ianos Publications translated by tireless Ikaros Bampasakis. Was I suprised by the news? Of course. A lot of ink will be spilled on the newspapers for this year’s decision of the Swedish Academy. It expands the boundaries of literature while challenging. Are the lyrics of a song considered to be poetry? My answer is, definetely, yes. Perhaps the lyric’s apparent immediacy may not have the linguistic depth of T.S. Eliot ‘s The Waste Land for example, but we can not ignore the influence of the songs which couses the very same crucial feeling that we encounter when reading great poetry. On the other hand, I sare a hesitation. If someone reads Bob Dylan’s poems without their music, do they have the same power ? The music and lyrics in this case can not be separated. Nobel Prize in Literature however, is not about music. So it remains to be answered whether the option to award a songwriter is right or wrong. I do not want to go into such a process taking sides either on the Prize accusers or the Prize supporters of this year’s award. The world is changing rapidly. Let us not rush to judge, since tomorrow we might recall. I love Bob Dylan. At least that’s for sure. And this is timeless.”

         George Lillis, poet



”The choice of Bob Dylan for the award of the Nobel Prize for Literature by the Swedish Academy sounded like a joke and surprised the world literary community. For the first time a songwriter has been awarded with this great distinction. The night of the Nobel Prize ceremony, in 1957, Camus in his Banquet speech said that: ” Art is a means of stirring the greatest number of people by offering them a privileged picture of common joys and sufferings”. Today, some people claim that literature redeems the soul and not only is for the few but also for the majority of people. Others talk about a discount of an institution that has honored great spirits for all these years. The fact is that even the classical literature has always aimed at the soul of the majority of people. Finally, how is literature defined today? Flaubert proclaimed that “each composed piece of art has its own poetry”, implying that the combination between social relationships forms literature and a literary work becomes valuable when poetic exaggeration deepens the feelings in it. Is it possible that all of the above mentioned can be present in a poetic work, of an exceptional songwriter, who has been touching the world for years with his lyrics but he does not belong to the field of literature? Expediency? Discount of the values? Recognition of the potential that can a musical work have in the global evolution? What marks this year’s Nobel Prize? Does it give meaning to new era in literature? The speculation and the answers to be found are yours. Any comparison, however, with the ancient Greek poetry is, at least, unfortunate.”

Tessie Baila, author 


”Bob Dylan’s music creates great feelings and maybe his lyrics are considered poetry, I am not in a position to review them. But after this award apointment the Nobel prize in Literature of the Swedish Academy, has now been given a vague definition. However, literature itself does not have a vague definition. Literature enhances reading silently to oneself, an internallity, an escape from the material world. I have always held the opinion that it stimulates the imagination and does not incorporate thinking with realistic images of any idol. Literature stands on its own naked and suggestive. The solitude and silence, this part which belongs to the reader, is the exclusive vehicle for the spreading of literary magic. If Bob Dylan lyrics were not accompanied by music, would they have this terrific permeability? If we take for granted that writing can weaken and fascinate the reader, in this case those who become weaker and fascinated are the music fans, but not because of the writing itself. Even if Literature is related to other arts and we consider that the Nobel prize in Literature continues to have the same precise meaning, the Swedish Academy, with this award, hurted literature with reality.”

         Dina Sarakinou, writer


”I’ve been waiting for this for 30 years.”

          Alexis Stamatis, writer


”The decision of the Swedish Academy sufficiently bold, probably reflects the need of literature itself to expand its territory into zones which regularly irrigates the last decades and rightfully considers they are related …”

Dimitris Stefanakis, writer, translator


”I liked the decision of the Swedish Academy. Bod Dylan has written exceptional lyrics and I can not understand why the fact that they have been combined with wonderful music is treated disparagingly / scoptical by several intellectuals. Euripides wrote music for chorus which became “hits” as songs in ancient times. I think this does not make him inferior to other tragedians. When you present to me lyrics that are stronger than those of the song “The answer my friend is blowin in the wind”, we will talk about it again…”

Kostas Stoforos, writer, journalist



”I believe that the rationale of the committee is of great interest, since it deletes the definition of the strict literary form and makes the expression boundaries of writing very indistinctive, what is literature exactly,  where it begins and starts the path of writing. Bob Dylan is a poet, today’s decision was not nessacary for us to learn this, but the deviation from something we have-admittedly-all used to acknowledge, surprised us. I repeat that, in my opinion, by today’s decision a “signal” was  transmitted  to the engagement for discussions on stylistic structures and redefinitions of borders in relation to what we call writing. Personally, I enjoy a secret pleasure for the decision. But also, I have many thoughts.”

Dimitris Sotakis, author



”I welcome the Swedish Academy’s decision to award the Nobel Prize in Literature to Bob Dylan, not only because I consider the lyrics are authentic poetry, but also because I believe that with this decision literature reconnects with ancient roots. From rhapsody and bards of ancient times til the minstrels of the Middle Ages, literature marched connected with music, always. And this close relationship ruptured violently with the emergence of modernism in recent years. But the decision of the Swedish Academy also raises a key question: what we consider literature? If we agree that it is the art that moves with instrument the wrting, regardless of the method or the kind that you use, then I believe that rightly this year’s Nobel prize was awarded to Dylan.

Sotiris Trivizas, author


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