The Literary society of Hindu College organised a discussion on the pop icon’s win of the Nobel Prize and how it’ll affect the contours of literature and popular culture.
The ground of discussion was the contribution of Dylan in the Counter Culture movement in the US and how his music has had a universal appeal in prompting masses to sing the same lyrics in unison. Dylan’s non affiliation to any political organisation or party gave him the license to address the excesses of the American government, be it the arms race during the cold war or the civil rights movement.
The discussion also investigated the roots of poetry and the oral tradition and the connection between the two. Dylan’s penchant to create a mix of politically critical commentary with folk music was associated with traditional forms of poetry, which employ similar instruments.
In the wake of Belarusian journalist Svetlana Alexievich winning the prize in 2015 and Dylan following suit, the global community’s realisation to go beyond traditional definitions of literature was also discussed. Some participants also raised the fact that close to none of the popular authors have won the prize yet, making the Swedish Academy elitist in its definition of what constitutes literature. The prize given to Dylan ‘for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition’ was acknowledged by the singer – songwriter five days after the announcement, on his official website. But no sooner than the academy heaved a sigh of relief that Dylan removed the mention from his website. The mention read ‘winner of the Nobel prize in literature’. The participants also discussed the delay on the part of Dylan and his perceived unpleasant attitude.
That the prize was symbolic in the sense of giving boost to alternate forms of literature was acknowledged by the participants, who at the end of the discussion contemplated the future of the award and literature.
Featured Image Credits: The Literary Society, Hindu College