Bob Dylan Is a Genius of Almost Unparalleled Influence, but He Shouldn’t Have Gotten the Nobel


Everyone cares about the Nobel Prize in Literature, even though no one, in the long run, can take it seriously—not for how often it is awarded awkwardly, politically, or with nothing more apparent than one committee’s high-minded obscurantism in mind. Bob Dylan is a genius, and for his genius, he’s been rewarded in every way; with fame, money, acclaim. He deserves all of it, but he doesn’t deserve the Nobel. It may be that Dylan’s claim to posterity will be larger than Murakami’s or Roth’s (or Wilbur’s or Didion’s), but that isn’t what is at issue in awarding the highest prize in literature to a pop musician. The objection here hinges in the definition of the word literature. You wouldn’t give the literary prize to an economist or a political saint. You shouldn’t give it to Bob Dylan.

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