Nomination of Bob Dylan for the
Nobel Prize in Literature

by Gordon Ball, Professor of English and Fine Arts,
Virginia Military Institute

January 23, 1999

Dear Nobel Committee:

	On behalf of the Campaign Committee of Mr. Gunnar Lunde and 
Mr. Reidar Indrebo (Angedalsvn. 37, 6800 Forde, Norway), I wish 
to nominate once more Mr. Bob Dylan of the United States for the 
next Nobel Prize in Literature.  Here are a few reasons why:

  1. There is considerable precedence for him to receive the 
prize.  In 1997 it was given to another distiguished creator, 
whose drama,  like Dylan's lyrics and music,  depends on performance
for full realization.  Over half a dozen dramatists have received
the Nobel Prize for Literature.
  His  blend  of  poetry  and  social  consciousness  with  music  is
entirely  appropriate  for  Nobel  recognition.   His  songs from the
early  1960s  to  the  present  have been passionately concerned with
civil rights,  world peace,  the preservation of the environment, and
other  crucial  global  causes.  He has been acclaimed by presidents, 
poets,   professors,  and  -- in almost countless numbers -- "common"
people.  That  his  pertinent and profound subject matter and wording
are matched by his musical prowess should be considered
appropriate,  not  strange,  for  a  Nobel  Prize  in  Literature. Of
William Butler Yeats,  Nobel Committee Chairman  Per  Hallström  said
in awarding him  the 1923 Prize,  "There is a greater element of song
than  is  usual in Modern English poetry."  Yeats himself  proclaimed 
of an  earlier recipient,  Rabindranath Tagore,  that "He is as great
in  music  as  in  poetry."  And  he  prophesied of  Tagore's verses,
"...travellers  will  hum them on the highway  and  men  rowing  upon
rivers.  Lovers...  [will  be]  murmuring  them."  In  fact,  Dylan's
memorable  lyrics  are given  such forms  of appreciation  the  world

   2.  For nearly four decades his work has had,  and  con -
tinues to have,  a major and  positive impact on the world:  
it has  changed it for the better.  
His  words  and   music   have  helped   restore  the  vital,  time -
honored  link  between  poetry  and  music,  and  have  so  permeated
the  world  as  to  alter  its  history.   When  Dylan's  work  first
appeared  in  the  U.S.  alone,  it  validated  the  imagination  and 
independence  of  thought  in  what had been an era of conformity and
denial:  it  empowered  a vast generational change.  That his  lyrics
are of  considerable  literary  value  is suggested  not only  by the
recent  conference  at  Stanford  but by their  inclusion in numerous
reference and text books.

  3.  Even in the last year,  Mr. Dylan has won  increasing
distinction and honors.  He has released a strong new album (Time 
Out Of Mind),  rich  with inspired,  powerful lyrics,  some of  which
chart  the  changes  that come with  aging and  the passage  of time:
they  are  evocative,  perceptive,  revealing.  He has  performed for
the  Pope,  who  quoted  at  some length  from  his  lyrics.  He  has
received one of  American's highest cultural honors  from our Kennedy
Center,  and  his oeuvre  was the subject  last  year  of an academic
conference  at  one of  our  most  prestigious  centers  of learning,
Stanford University.

    I continue  to  hear  the  inspiring  words,  unique  voice,  and
extraordinary  music  of  Bob Dylan emanate from cadets' rooms in the
barracks at the military school where I teach.

    I remain grateful  for your  consideration of Mr. Dylan  for  the
next Nobel Prize in Literature.

                              Gordon Ball
                              Professor of English and Fine Arts

Campaign Committee

Press Secretary

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