‘Truly beyond words’, says Bob Dylan in Nobel Prize speech; alludes to ShakespeareAmerican singer-songwriter Bob Dylan was stunned and surprised when he was told that he had won a Nobel prize and has thanked the Swedish Academy for including him among the giants of writing.
American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan was stunned and surprised when he was told that he had won a Nobel prize and has thanked the Swedish Academy for including him among the "giants" of writing.
Expressing awe at the award, Dylan said he had never stopped to consider whether his songs were literature or not.
Dylan was absent from Saturday's award ceremony and banquet in Stockholm but his was read out on Saturday by US Ambassador to Sweden Azita Raji at the annual Nobel Awards dinner.
The 75-year-old Dylan, known for hit songs like "Blowin' in the wind" and "Like a rolling stone", said that at an early age he had read and absorbed the works of past winners of literature such as Rudyard Kipling, Thomas Mann, Pearl Buck and Albert Camus.
But he said it was "truly beyond words" that he was joining those names on the winners' list.
"If someone had ever told me that I had the slightest chance of winning the Nobel Prize, I would have to think that I'd have about the same odds as standing on the moon," he wrote.
The announcement that Dylan had won the Nobel Literature Prize caused controversy with critics arguing his lyrics were not literature. On learning that he had been awarded the literature prize, Dylan said he thought of William Shakespeare.
"When he was writing ‘Hamlet', I'm sure he was thinking about a lot of different things: ‘Who're the right actors for these roles? How should this be staged? Do I really want to set this in Denmark?'."
"Like Shakespeare, I too am often occupied with the pursuit of my creative endeavours and dealing with all aspects of life's mundane matter," Dylan said.
In his words: "I'm sure the farthest thing from Shakespeare's mind was: 'Is this literature?'"
Dylan said he too focuses on "mundane matters" such as recording in the right key, not on whether his songs are literature.
He thanked the Academy for considering the question and "providing such a wonderful answer."