Just Like a Woman

Posted in honour of Bob Dylan being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

I am of course delighted that this prestigious honour has, for the first time, been bestowed on a singer/songwriter. Surely it can only be a matter of time before it goes to a blogger?


7 Responses to “Just Like a Woman”

  1. Steve Warren Says:

    Until recently I didn’t have an opinion on Bob Dylan, having never listened to his music. But I was aware that Christopher Ricks considers him a genius. I also didn’t have an opinion on Dylan Thomas. So I was delighted when the BBC published one of their quizzes with a title something like ‘Do you know your Dylan from your Dylan Thomas?’. You were given ten quotes and had to guess who said it. The first quote was I thought a beautiful poetic insight, so I decided to give that to Dylan Thomas. The next quote was to me a load of pretentious twaddle, so I decided that I would give that to Bob Dylan, and that I would complete the quiz by giving all the poetry to Dylan Thomas and all the tosh to Bob Dylan. I didn’t recognize any of the quotes, and I had no particular reason for choosing this method, but thought that it might help me decide who was the better poet depending on whether I got a high or a low score.

    The result was a score of 9/10.

    • telescoper Says:

      I think Bob Dylan wrote some fine songs (including Just Like a Woman), but I agree with Leonard Cohen that you can’t judge a songwriter by the same standards you do with a poet: “A poem has a density of meaning that a song cannot support”.

      I do find Bob Dylan’s output of extremely variable quality and the same is also true of Dylan Thomas. However, in both cases I think some pieces bear the hallmarks of genius and one should judge an artist by the quality of their best work, not their worst.

      I would say however, that the other Thomas (R.S.) would have been a more worthy recipient of a Nobel Prize than Dylan, and I also think that Leonard Cohen is a far more significant poet/songwriter than Bob Dylan.
      I don’t object to the latter getting the prize, as he has been enormously influential.

      • telescoper Says:

        Yes, Bob Dylan has clearly reached a bigger audience than Leonard Cohen, but that doesn’t alter my opinion of their relative merits. It’s a matter of personal taste, though. Les goûts et les couleurs ne se discutent pas.

        Dylan Thomas has reached a bigger audience than R.S. Thomas, but I stick to my guns on that one two!

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        Neither of them can sing!

        I know very little of Leonard Cohen, having listened to about two tracks long ago and not liked either. I simply refrain from discussing him. Dylan is a genius, and I’ll rephrase Peter’s logic in the statement that anybody who has written just one great song has written one more than most artistes. And Dylan has written more than that.

        Yes, RS Thomas indeed – but he’s dead, and (for readers who might not know) you have to be alive to get the Nobel.

        How about agitating for Dylan to get the Nobel Peace Prize next year for his protest songs? Then he’d join a very select bunch of double-winners…

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        Is it a rhetorical or catch question, ie nobody does; or does at least one other person?

        And when did Dylan get an Oscar, please?

  2. Anton Garrett Says:

  3. Anton Garrett Says:

    Dylan has not acknowledged his award. The Nobel committee is rather cheesed off about this, but it should be aware that he declined the Oscar ceremony and accepted the award only via video link. And a decade later he was a no-show at the White House to receive the US National Medal for the Arts. Apparently the mention of the Nobel has come off his website. Clearly – and predictably – he is going to ignore it rather than accept or decline it. The Nobel rules mean he will then be considered as this year’s Laureate. The times they have a-changed…

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