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  • Music-Lyrics-Language: Bob Dylan and the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature

Music-Lyrics-Language: Bob Dylan and the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature

  • 30 Nov 2016
  • 6:00 PM
  • 01 Dec 2016
  • 9:00 PM
  • The Players Club, 16 Gramercy Park S, New York, NY 10003


Registration is closed


A Conversation about Bob Dylan and his 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature  

On Thursday, October 13, 2016, the Swedish Academy announced that it had awarded Bob Dylan its Nobel Prize in Literature “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”  While Dylan’s lack of acknowledgment and acceptance of the award until two weeks later raised controversy, this paled in comparison to the controversy raised right away as pundits in the professional media and across social media weighed in: He deserves it.  He doesn’t deserve it.  Popular songs aren’t literature.  Lyrics aren’t poetry.  If the Academy’s prize for literature is expanded to include popular song, is Dylan the only deserving songwriter?  Is he the most deserving?  Et cetera.

This roundtable discussion seeks to address, make sense of, and try to come to some conclusions with respect to all of this ruckus.  The participants will consider questions including: What is the relationship of lyrics to poetry?  What is the symbiotic relationship between lyrics and music in popular song?  Is poetry literature?  Are popular songs literature?  What is the meaning and significance of the Nobel Prize, or any award for that matter?  What is the significance of Bob Dylan?  What is the literary value of his lyrics?  What is so new and distinctive about his “poetic expressions” and use of language?  And is everything important about Dylan and his contribution simply a matter of language?

Finally…does he deserve it?

Join us for a panel discussion featuring:

Thom Gencarelli, Professor of Communication, Manhattan College

Callie Gallo, English Department Teaching Fellow, Fordham University

Sal Fallica, Professor of Media Ecology, New York University

Lance Strate, NYSGS President

6 PM to 9 PM November 30th at the historic Players Club in Gramercy Park. 

Registration is free, but all attendees must be registered in order to gain admittance to the club. This includes any guests you might want to bring with you.

The program will take place in the Library on the 2nd floor of the club. Please note that, as an historic 19th century landmark, the site is not handicap accessible. Dress code is business casual.

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The New York Society for General Semantics is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization established September 9, 1946.

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