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Bob Dylan and the Literary Idiot Wind

The Bard of Hibbing is a poetico-musical revolution in one man and one body of work. It is this tour de force – this prolonged stroke of genius that is forever young – that the Nobel committee has recognized in its selection.

PARIS – Oh, the anger of the fusty at the announcement of Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize! What an outcry from the academy – not the Swedish one, mind you, but that of the world church of literaturology.

The panic of the literary bureaucracy, ensnared in its certainties and steeped in its petty calculations, its half-baked prognostications, its crafty shifts of position, has been palpable. Was the choice of Dylan political or non-political? Why an American? Why not a woman? Or a voice, any voice, of a visible minority? Or this one, who’s been waiting 20 years? Or that one, who’s given up hope?

The truth, however unpleasant it may be for the fuddy-duddies, is that awarding the Nobel Prize in Literature to an author who has written just one book is no more surprising than giving it to Dario Fo or Winston Churchill.

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