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The “Like a Rolling Stone” singer pushes the boundaries of the award’s original interpretation, which skews towards a more traditional definition of literature. In a bibliographical note from the Nobel Prize committee, Dylan was praised for his versatility in art as well as the subject matter of his music:
“Dylan has recorded a large number of albums revolving around topics like the social conditions of man, religion, politics and love. The lyrics have continuously been published in new editions, under the title Lyrics. As an artist, he is strikingly versatile; he has been active as painter, actor and scriptwriter… Dylan has the status of an icon. His influence on contemporary music is profound, and he is the object of a steady stream of secondary literature.”
Indeed, many have lobbied for the musician, whose influences span beat poetry as well as similar icons like Woody Guthrie and Robert Johnson. Former Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman made his case in a New York Times op-ed back in 2013. Of course, there will always be doubters.
You know what this means? In about three or four decades, Kanye West is probably going to get that call from Sweden.
A former Weekend Editor at the Daily Dot, April Siese's reporting covers everything from technology and politics to web culture and humor. Her work has been published by Bustle, Uproxx, Death and Taxes, Rolling Stone, the Daily Beast, Thrillist, Atlas Obscura, and others. Siese joined Quartz in December 2016.