Articles on Bob Dylan

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Leonard Cohen in 2008, just before he was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Lucas Jackson/Reuters

As a writer-musician, Leonard Cohen was a one-off

Perhaps more clearly than Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen showed that songwriting can be a literary art. Within his apparently simple words lies a profound sense of playfulness and enigma.
A portrait of Indian poet and musician Rabindranath Tagore. Cherishsantosh/Wikimedia Commons

No, Bob Dylan isn’t the first lyricist to win the Nobel

In 1913, an Indian literary giant named Rabindranath Tagore was the first non-white person to win the literature prize. He wrote over 2,000 songs and, like Dylan's, they still resonate today.
Is Bob Dylan a poet in the great tradition of Sappho? In the days of Sappho, John William Godward

Explainer: are Bob Dylan’s songs ‘Literature’?

Ancient poems were accompanied by a musical instrument called the lyre – from which we get the word 'lyric'. 'Literature' and 'poetry' are categories of our own making - so moving beyond them in a major award seems long overdue.
Dylan is a musician, who has been well recognised in his field. Simon Murphy/Flickr

In honouring Dylan, the Nobel Prize judges have made a category error

Were there really no poets or novelists or essayists - no people who have spent their lives in the field of literature - considered Nobel-worthy? This nostalgic decision is discourteous to writers.
Kenyan author Ngugi Wa Thiong'o shows his newly released book “Wizard of the Crow” during launch at a Nairobi bookshop. Antony Njuguna/Reuters

Tipped to win Nobel literature prize, Kenya’s Ngugi misses out – again

Ngugi wa Thiong'o is still regarded as one of Africa's greatest living writers in spite of missing out on a literature Nobel yet again.
Jodie Foster, Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese on the set of Taxi Driver in 1976. Sikelia Productions, New York

Friday essay: It Felt Like a Kiss – movies, popular music and Martin Scorsese

From 'Mean Streets' to 'Vinyl', from The Ronettes to The Clash, music has long been a muse to film director Martin Scorsese. He plays it on set, conceives sequences with certain songs in mind and uses it to chart his characters' changing fortunes.

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