Why Bob Dylan Shouldn’t Have Gotten a Nobel
Bob Dylan does not deserve the Nobel Prize in Literature.
鲍勃·迪伦(Bob Dylan)不配获得诺贝尔文学奖(Nobel Prize in Literature)。
He does deserve the many Grammys he has received, including a lifetime achievement award, which he won in 1991. He unquestionably belongs in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, into which he was inducted in 1988 along with the Supremes, the Beatles and the Beach Boys. He is a wonderful musician, a world-class songwriter and an enormously influential figure in American culture.
他获得过很多格莱美奖(Grammy)，包括1991年获得的终身成就奖，那些是他应得的。他无疑属于摇滚名人堂(Rock & Roll Hall of Fame)——1988年他与至高无上(Supremes)、披头士(Beatles)和海滩男孩(Beach Boys)共同入驻摇滚名人堂。他是一位了不起的音乐家，一位世界级的歌曲作家，是美国文化中一个极具影响力的人物。
But by awarding the prize to him, the Nobel committee is choosing not to award it to a writer, and that is a disappointing choice.
Yes, Mr. Dylan is a brilliant lyricist. Yes, he has written a book of prose poetry and an autobiography. Yes, it is possible to analyze his lyrics as poetry. But Mr. Dylan’s writing is inseparable from his music. He is great because he is a great musician, and when the Nobel committee gives the literature prize to a musician, it misses the opportunity to honor a writer.
As reading declines around the world, literary prizes are more important than ever. A big prize means a jump in sales and readership even for a well-known writer. But more than that, awarding the Nobel to a novelist or a poet is a way of affirming that fiction and poetry still matter, that they are crucial human endeavors worthy of international recognition.
Popular music is such an endeavor too, but, for the most part, it already receives the recognition it deserves. And apart from a few spoken-word awards, no one would expect the highest honors in music to go to a writer — we won’t be seeing Zadie Smith or Mary Gaitskill in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
流行音乐也是这样一种活动，但它在极大程度上已得到应得的认可。除了少数几个语言类奖项，没人会期待音乐类的最高奖项会授予一位作家，就像我们不会在摇滚名人堂看到查蒂·史密斯(Zadie Smith)或玛丽·盖茨基尔(Mary Gaitskill)。
The committee probably did not mean to slight fiction or poetry with its choice. By honoring a musical icon, the committee members may have wanted to bring new cultural currency to the prize and make it feel relevant to a younger generation.
But there are many ways they could have accomplished this while still honoring a writer. They could have chosen a writer who has made significant innovations in the form, like Jennifer Egan, Teju Cole or Anne Carson. They could have selected a writer from the developing world, which remains woefully underrepresented among Nobel laureates. They could have picked a writer who has built an audience primarily online, like Warsan Shire, who became the first Young Poet Laureate of London in 2014.
但是，在依旧表彰一位作家的同时，实现上述目的的办法有很多。他们可以选择一位在形式上做出重要创新的作家，比如珍妮弗·伊根(Jennifer Egan)、泰茹·科尔(Teju Cole)或安妮·卡森(Anne Carson)。他们也可以选择一位来自发展中国家的作家，发展中国家在诺贝尔奖项中依旧没有得到足够的认可，这是令人扼腕叹息的事情。或者他们可以选择一位读者群主要在网络上的作家，比如沃姗·希雷(Warsan Shire)，2014年，她成为伦敦年轻诗人桂冠奖(Young Poet Laureate of London)的首位获得者。
Instead, the committee gave the prize to a man who is internationally famous in another field, one with plenty of honors of its own. Bob Dylan does not need a Nobel Prize in Literature, but literature needs a Nobel Prize. This year, it won’t get one.