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Trainspotting Author on Dylan's Nobel: 'Ill Conceived'

Irvine Welsh does not think music and literature should mix in picking prize recipients
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 13, 2016 12:44 PM CDT

(Newser) – "Bob Dylan" was one of the top Twitter trends Thursday thanks to the troubadour taking home the Nobel Prize for Literature. But while most of social media is beaming at his newest honor, Scottish author Irvine Welsh, who wrote the novel Trainspotting, isn't terribly pleased, the AP reports. Welsh spent much of Thursday morning on Twitter retweeting posts that trashed Dylan's win, and tweeting: "I'm a Dylan fan, but this is an ill conceived nostalgia award wrenched from the rancid prostates of senile, gibbering hippies." His main beef appears to be the separation of a metaphorical church and state—in this case, songs and lit—that he thinks should exist, adding, "If you're a 'music' fan, look it up in the dictionary. Then 'literature'. Then compare and contrast." Other takes on Dylan's new laureate status:

  • The Wall Street Journal lists feedback from major authors, from the gushing—Salman Rushdie writes on Twitter, "From Orpheus to Faiz, song & poetry have been closely linked. Dylan is the brilliant inheritor of the bardic tradition. Great choice"—to the eyerolling, including satirical writer Gary Shteyngart's take: "I totally get the Nobel committee. Reading books is hard."

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  • Jay Perini gives a thumbs-up at CNN, noting how Dylan's songs "speak to our deepest concerns" and how he's "filled our heads with language that both interprets and transforms the realities we confront."
  • At the Guardian, Richard Williams looks at whether music and literature can actually be successfully linked (in terms of a Nobel Prize), and he breaks it down line by line to show the "profound resonance" of Dylan's lyrics.
  • Robert Chalmers makes the slightly uncomfortable observation for GQ that "everything would be so much more simple if he were dead," as Dylan would have ascended to legendary status. But Chalmers still jumps on the pro-Dylan bandwagon, noting, "His voice may, like the Havana cigars and bourbon to which it is often lazily compared, be an acquired taste, but Dylan is responsible, as much as Billie Holiday, for reinventing the whole style of popular singing."
  • Meanwhile, a naysayer singing the Black "Eating Crow" Blues: Alex Shephard, who wrote last week for the New Republic that "Bob Dylan 100 percent is not going to win. Stop saying Bob Dylan should win the Nobel Prize."
(Read more Bob Dylan stories.)

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