Last week, legendary singer-songwriter and musician Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature, surprising literary circles and delighting music fans around the world. Dylan is only one of two musicians to ever be awarded the coveted prize; Bengali polymath won the prize in 1913. The Swedish Academy said that Dylan “created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition,” comparing his work to that of Homer and Sappho.
Dylan is certainly unique among the Nobel prize winners – he may also be one of the very few prize winners to play the role of pitchman. Back in 1965, as one of the country’s foremost counterculture icons, Dylan famously told a reporter that if he ever sold to a commercial interest, it’d be “ladies garments.”