(New York Post) -- When Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature Thursday for, in the words of the Swedish Academy, “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition,” a predictable chorus of groans arose from the snootier quarters of the literary and cultural world.
On one superficial level you can grasp the source of the disdain: The Nobel Prize is supposed to recognize a lifetime of surpassing aesthetic and artistic achievement in the written word, and it does feel curiously demotic to award it to a musician whose immensely popular albums have left an indelible stamp upon American culture. We think of Nobel winners as quiet scholars, aesthetes or humanitarians working tirelessly, oftentimes without recognition, until one day the Nobel Committee shines a light on them, rewarding a lifetime of labor.
We don’t think of them as globetrotting rock stars.
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