And as he talks, he starts to sound pretty pleased about becoming a Nobel laureate. “It’s hard to believe,” he muses. His name has been mentioned as on the shortlist for a number of years, but the announcement was certainly not expected. When he was first told, it was, Dylan confides, “amazing, incredible. Whoever dreams about something like that?”AND: Does he think his work belongs in the Nobel literature category? Gunderson reminds him of what's being said about Homer and Sappho and how their poems were written to be sung, but we still read them apart from whatever that music was supposed to be, and Bob Dylan's words could be read.
In which case, I can’t help but ask, why the long public silence about what it means? Jean-Paul Sartre famously declined the award in 1964, but Dylan has these past weeks seemed intent on simply refusing to acknowledge its existence....
For his part, Dylan sounds genuinely bemused by the whole ruckus. It is as if he can’t quite fathom where all the headlines have come from, that others have somehow been over-reacting. Couldn’t he just have taken the calls from the Nobel Committee?
“Well, I’m right here,” he says playfully, as if it was simply a matter of them dialling his number, but he offers no further explanation.
“I suppose so, in some way. Some [of my own] songs – “Blind Willie”, “The Ballad of Hollis Brown”, “Joey”, “A Hard Rain”, “Hurricane”, and some others – definitely are Homeric in value.”