The 1913 Nobel prize winner for literature was awarded to the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore. His duty, like Dylans, recreates tradition and pass genres
Amid the raucous applaud, disbelieving emojis and graceless carping that accompanied the grant of the most recent Nobel prize for literature, an unexamined claim was drawn several times: that this was the first time the pillage had gone to a songwriter. A couple of newsreaders applied the word musician, others the historical and more precise singer-songwriter; but principally they remain to songwriter. It struck me that the amount claimed was incorrect. The first( and the only other) songwriter the award went to see was the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore, in 1913. It was given to him because, according to the citation, of his profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful ballad, by which, with consummate knowledge, he has prepared his lyrical think, expressed in his own English statements, a part of the literature of the west. The award for Bob Dylan, which acknowledges him for having created new poetic phrases within the great American psalm institution, is different from but oddly suggestive of the one from 1913, when honouring an Indian someone located in the world of gurus and sances must have seemed as puzzling as passing a serious medal to a pop musician. Little was known outside Bengal about Tagore, just as little, truly, know anything about Dylan. The award from 1913 is already shall include participation in invention, attaining no mention of the fact that the poem is actually anthems, or that theyre renditions from Bengali. But Tagore carried the entitle of the book that got him the reward, Gitanjali , virtually literally, as Song Present and its a compendium of lyricals transformed by him into unusual English prose lyrics, selected from three slim Bengali collectings of songs ballads that are not only performed today day in Bengal, but played ad nauseam.
The main difference here is that, unlike Dylan, Tagore had a capacious, impressive and totally modern person of poetic studies. Pounds urgent message to Harriet Monroe about TS Eliot, that he had actually developed himself AND modernised himself ON HIS OWN, could have applied equally to Tagore, though Pound chose to compare Tagore to a jongleur, a Provencal minstrel. The other gap is that Tagore wasnt a jongleur, that is, a singer of his own songs, although he might well have wanted such a profession among his several. As a young man, he was much like Dylan certainly interested in performing his latest arrangements for whoever would listen, but grumbled harshly later about losing his talk abilities. His only extant, scratchy recording is from when he was much older, of Tobu mone rekho ( Still, remember this ), and gives to us the high-pitched, somewhat tentative and astonishingly immediate singer that Bengalis identify with Tagore, and which they never saw are worth a vocalist. To listen to it is to be deeply moved. Its too to understand the characteristics of Dylans achievement as a musician and registering artist.
I was never a great follower of Dylan while growing up( nor of Tagore ), interpreting him as a Picasso-like figure, these kinds of creator for whom tireless self-publicity and stylistic invention have merged into one thing. This is no longer to disclaim the impact that lyrics such as Dont Think Twice, Its All Right, Tangled Up in Blue, Love Minus Zero/ No Limit and Idiot Wind have had at different points in my life. But my interest in the sort of architect Dylan is developed manifold more recently while chancing upon Who Killed Davey Moore, his song first written and performed in 1963, but unreleased on any album until The Bootleg Series in 1991. This accounts for the late detection. Its a carol about the deaths among the eponymous featherweight champ, who died soon after forgetting a prize fight: but its not a objection song about the wellbeing of boxers. What is it then? In 1964, Dylan wasnt sure, though he had ingeniously suitable the childrens verses Who Killed Cock Robin? to make the psalm. As he told his the crowd at his show in October 1964: Its got nothing to do with boxing, its precisely a carol about a boxer genuinely … Its is nothing to do with nothing. But I fit all these words together … thats all … Its taken immediately from the newspapers … Nothings been changed … Except for the words. Dylan cant be certain about what the song represents because its not really a psalm about a boxer, its the following statement about a specific kind of ability, that are required to do with reusing, defamiliarising, reordering and rearranging existing substance so that its political and aesthetic registries undergo a alteration. In Who Killed Davey Moore, the material comprises the American folksong, the childrens verse, the public misfortune and the narrative taken immediately from the newspapers and subjected to the sort of estranging synthesis in which nothings been changed … except for the words.
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