In announcing Bob Dylan as the winner of Nobel Prize in Literature 2016, the Swedish Academy, stated that the singer deserved the prize "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition."
Professor Sara Danius, Permanent
Secretary of the Swedish Academy, who made the announcement was later quoted
saying Dylan “can be read and should be read, and is a great poet in the
Dylan was born on May 24, 1941 in Duluth, Minnesota. He grew up in a Jewish middle-class family in the city of Hibbing. As a teenager he played in various bands and with time his interest in music deepened, with a particular passion for American folk music and blues. One of his idols was the folk singer Woody Guthrie. He was also influenced by the early authors of the Beat Generation, as well as by modernist poets.Dylan moved to New York City in 1961 and began to perform in clubs and cafés in Greenwich Village. He met the record producer John Hammond with whom he signed a contract for his debut album, Bob Dylan (1962). In the following years he recorded a number of albums which have had a tremendous impact on popular music: Bringing It All Back Home and Highway 61 Revisited in 1965, Blonde On Blonde in 1966 and Blood On The Tracks in 1975. His productivity continued in the following decades, resulting in masterpieces like Oh Mercy (1989), Time Out Of Mind (1997) and Modern Times (2006).
Dylan’s tours in 1965 and 1966 attracted a lot of attention. For a period he was accompanied by film maker D. A. Pennebaker, who documented life around the stage in what would come to be the movie Dont Look Back (1967). Dylan has recorded a large number of albums revolving around topics such as: 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.
Besides his large production of albums, Dylan has published experimental work like Tarantula (1971) and the collection Writings and Drawings (1973). He has written an autobiography, Chronicles (2004), which depicts memories from the early years in New York and which provides glimpses of his life at the center of popular culture. Since the late 1980s, Bob Dylan has toured persistently, an undertaking called the “Never-Ending Tour”. 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.
Bibliography – a selection
Works in English
Bob Dylan Song Book. – New York : M. Witmark, 1965Bob Dylan Himself : His Words, His Music. – London : Duchess, 1965
Bob Dylan : A Collection. – New York : M. Witmark, 1966
Bob Dylan : The Original. – Warner Bros.- Seven Arts Music, 1968
Tarantula. – New York : Macmillan, 1971
Poem to Joanie / with an introduction by A. J. Weberman. – London : Aloes Seola, 1971
Writings and Drawings. – New York : Knopf, 1973
The Songs of Bob Dylan : From 1966 through 1975. – New York : Knopf, 1976
Lyrics, 1962-1985. – New York : Knopf, 1985
Bob Dylan Anthology. – New York : Amsco, 1990
Drawn Blank. – New York : Random House, 1994
Lyrics, 1962-1996. – New York : Villard, 1997
Lyrics, 1962-1999. – New York : Knopf, 1999
Man Gave Names to All the Animals / illustrated by Scott Menchin. – San Diego, Calif. : Harcourt Brace, 1999
The Definitive Bob Dylan Songbook. – New York : Amsco, 2001
Lyrics : 1962-2001. – New York : Simon & Schuster, 2004
Chronicles : Volume One. – New York : Simon & Schuster, 2004
Bob Dylan : The Drawn Blank Series / edited by Ingrid Mössinger and Kerstin Drechsel. – New York : Prestel, 2007
Hollywood Foto-Rhetoric : The Lost Manuscript / photographs by Barry Feinstein. – New York : Simon & Schuster, 2008
Lyrics / edited by Heinrich Detering. – Stuttgart : Reclam, 2008
Forever Young / illustrated by Paul Rogers. – New York : Atheneum, 2008
Bob Dylan : The Brazil Series. – New York : Prestel, 2010
Man Gave Names to All the Animals / illustrated by Jim Arnosky. – New York : Sterling, 2010
Blowin’ in The Wind / illustrated by Jon J. Muth. – New York : Sterling, 2011
Bob Dylan : The Asia Series. – New York : Gagosian Gallery, 2011
Revisionist Art. – New York : Gagosian Gallery, 2012
Bob Dylan : Face Value / text by John Elderfield. – London : National Portrait Gallery, 2013
If Dogs Run Free / illustrated by Scott Campbell. – New York : Atheneum, 2013
The Lyrics : Since 1962 / edited by Christopher Ricks, Lisa Nemrow and Julie Nemrow. – New York : Simon & Schuster, 2014
If Not for You / illustrated by David Walker . – New York : Atheneum, 2016.