Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize lecture


Bob Dylan finally delivered his lecture for the Nobel Prize for Literature, submitting a 26-minute audio file, which you hear for yourself after the jump.  Or you can read the transcript.

He reflects on the sense in which his songs can be construed as literature.  He discusses the three literary works that have left the biggest impression on him:  Moby Dick, All Quiet on the Western Front, and The Odyssey.  (Who knew?  Has anyone noticed the  influence of any of these works before?)

His whole speech–required to receive the $923,000 prize–is a literary performance in itself.  An excerpt, bringing together imagery and lines from the folk music tradition:

“You know that Stagger Lee was a bad man, and that Frankie was a good girl, you know that Washington is a bourgeois town and you heard the deep-pitched voice of John the Revelator and you saw the Titanic sink in a boggy creek and you’re pals with the wild Irish rover and the wild colonial boy. You heard the muffled drums, the fifes that played lowly, you’ve seen the lusty Lord Donald stick a knife in his wife, and a lot of your comrades have been wrapped in white linen.”

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Bob Dylan archive opens for researchers

800px-Joan_Baez_Bob_DylanIn more Dylan news, the Bob Dylan Archive here in Oklahoma is now open for researchers.  It won’t be open to the public for another two years.  It will then be housed in the Woody Guthrie Museum in Tulsa.  (Read our earlier post on how Oklahoma got Dylan’s archives.)

But the collection has been sufficiently organized and curated to give researchers access to the more than 6,000 manuscripts, tapes, instruments, memorabilia, and unreleased songs.

An article about the opening, including information on how to gain access to the collection, is after the jump. [Read more…]

Dylan will pick up his Nobel Prize this weekend

NobelPrize1Bob Dylan, the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, shocked the Swedish Academy by not attending the ceremony in December to receive the honor.  But he is doing some concerts in Sweden this weekend, so he has arranged to pick up the prize.

He will not, however, give the traditional lecture.  The thing is, in order to get the $903,000 that goes with the medallion, he has to give the speech within six months of the December 10 award.  So he has until June 10.

The Swedish Academy, which bestows the honors, says that it expects him to turn in a videotaped lecture before the deadline.  That apparently counts.  But it would be like Dylan to blow off the money.  He may think it would be worth nearly a million dollars to avoid giving a speech.   I suspect many people with a fear of public speaking can relate to that.

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A new Bob Dylan interview

Bob_Dylan_-_Azkena_Rock_Festival_2010_2Bob Dylan has a new album coming out at the end of the month:  Triplicate.  It’s a triple album–the equivalent of three CDs–and it’s more standards, his third album in a row covering Sinatra-style songs from the 1940s, 1950s, and early 1960s.  Stardust.  Stormy Weather.  Sentimental Journey.  (Go to the Amazon link above to see what songs are on the album.  You can buy some of them individually already, though the album won’t be released until March 31.)

In conjunction with the album, the Nobel laureate has posted on his website a wide-ranging and fascinating interview with author and TV producer Bill Flanagan.

He talks about Minnesota, his childhood, his early career, but mostly he talks music.  He explains what he loves about these songs, while also showing that he keeps up with contemporary music.  Showing an encyclopedic knowledge of music, Dylan talks chords, charts, styles, and phrasing.  We see Dylan as a performer and also as a music producer, explaining what he looks for in a drummer, what he tries to do in the studio, explaining how he sequences the songs on his albums.

For an overview of the interview–nice phrase, if I do say so myself–read this.  From Rolling Stone, here is a link to “Bob Dylan’s Surprise, Extensive New Interview: 9 Things We Learned.

After the jump, a link to the interview itself.  Read it all, but I quote his answers to only two questions: one on the different styles in his singing;  and one giving his reflections on the early days of rock ‘n’ roll. [Read more…]

Bob Dylan was just “speechless”

What was Bob Dylan’s reaction to the news that he had won the Nobel Prize for Literature?  Nothing. He made no reference to it in the press or in his concerts.  He didn’t call or take a call from the Swedish academy.

Lot of people, including the Nobel Committee, considered this to be arrogant.  We fans considered it just another example of Dylan’s utter coolness.  To ignore the Nobel Prize!

But now Dylan has responded.  It turns out, he says, the award just left him “speechless.”  Read more after the jump and follow the links. [Read more…]

Bob Dylan wins the Nobel Prize

Bob Dylan has won the Nobel Prize.

The Peace Prize for “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “Masters of War”?  No.  The Chemistry Prize for his duets with Joan Baez?  No.  The Prize for Music?  There is no prize for music.  He won the Prize for Literature.

OK, even many of us Dylan fans responded to the news with a “huh?”  Are songwriters to be counted in the ranks of novelists, dramatists, and poets?  Well, why not?  Poetry used to be accompanied by music anyway, which is why we call it “lyric.”  And Dylan is nothing if not a poet.

So congratulations to the one true Bob.  And I hope that Pete, our resident Dylan scholar here at the Cranach Institute, weighs in.  I can’t wait to hear what Dylan will say at his acceptance speech. [Read more…]