Twice – twice! I have heard about the Noble Prize on BBC.
Noble Prize? Fgs! Someone TELL the announcers that it’s The Nobel Prize – said Nobell. It’s a person’s surname.
What on earth is the world coming to? Noble Prize indeed.
And fancy giving The Nobel Prize for LITERATURE to a musician! Bob Dylan in fact – someone whose music has never inspired me, only depressed me.
What a snub to others who actually represent LITERATURE.
We’ve gone daft. I don’t think Bob Dylan is an Earth Shattering Genius like Stephen Metcalf does – but I think he’s put his finger right on the point of why Bob Dylan shouldn’t have been given The Noble Prize, sorry, Nobel Prize.
My thinking goes as follows, and who knows, I’m probably wrong. But the distinctive thing about literature is that it involves reading silently to oneself. Silence and solitude are inextricably a part of reading, and reading is the exclusive vehicle for literature.
This is historically contingent in every way: Literature as a silent and lonely activity is scarcely older than the printing press. The philosopher Gilbert Ryle once wrote, half teasingly: “It was not until the Middle Ages that people learned to read without reading aloud.” Reading silently, a kind of crossroads is formed. Your voice, on the page, becomes my voice, in my head. In reading, the mind is made separate from the mechanistic and perspicuous world, and a self is formed that is not precisely in or of that world. In reading, you experience that rarest loneliness, a loneliness that reminds you: You exist.