A lot of controversy has been garnered in the past weeks with the announcement of Bob Dylan’s winning of the Nobel Prize for Literature.
While some criticized the decision, arguing that it excludes underrepresented writers who deserve the award, others have praised it, saying Dylan’s lyrics are poetry in themselves.
The questions this issue is bringing up, such as what makes literature valuable and whether or not a singer winning the award invalidates the work of more traditional writers are worth asking. However, I would contend that literature transcends the bounds of prizes and awards. A good book, poem, or even song does not need a prize to validate its existence. Many good, valuable authors will never win the Nobel Prize regardless of whether or not Dylan won it. Other good, valuable authors will. There are life-changing novels that as well as classics from years ago that have stood the test of time.will never win prestigous awards. I would contend that while an award such as the Nobel Prize is a good way to gauge what works will become classics, it is not the end all be all. What will matter is the societal, emotional and other impacts it has on the way people live their lives, on the way they think.