Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize: The Reaction from Writers in China

By David Haysom, published

Yes, China also noticed that Bob Dylan received the Nobel Prize for Literature.

It is akin to Cui Jian [崔健] receiving the prize, argues Zhang Yiwu [张颐武], a professor at Peking University. “This year’s Nobel Prize for Literature was a complete surprise, an unexpectedly novel approach – a Black Swan, even. Yes, Bob Dylan has been a global megastar of music since the 1960s, and he influenced the new social movements of the era. But it’s a bold move for a prize that has been a staid presence in the literary landscape for so many years. It’s certainly innovative. In the age of the internet, anything’s possible.”
Chen Xiaoming [陈晓明], another literary critic, has also remarked on the unexpectedness of the award. “Perhaps this is something to do with the personal tastes of the committee,” he suggests, “a moment of nostalgia. Or perhaps reading his biography reminded them of their own youths, like some kind of performance art. Or another possibility is that this is their way of encouraging people to pay less attention to the prize, to stop treating it with such reverance. You’re all expected us to give it to Adonis, well okay then, we’ll give it to Bob Dylan.”
—translated from 诺贝尔文学奖颁给音乐人 为什么是鲍勃·迪伦

Here are a selection of responses from Chinese authors (collected from Weixin and Weibo by the Paper Republic team):

Chen Xiwo: It seems obvious that some of the old people on the prize committee are doing their bit to try and keep up with the times, so that they don't come across as completely senile and decrepit. Which includes being mischievous.
陈希我: 明显感觉到,这些年诺贝尔文学奖几个评委老人努力在与时俱进,显得不老态龙钟,包括调皮。

Di An: Murakami will be glad for Dylan.
笛安: 村上会为迪伦感到高兴的。

Han Dong: It’s good to see a talented amateur receiving the award, it’s a release, it’s liberating. Too much angst has gotten attached to the award over the years – national, ethnic, political, personal…
韩东: 一个业余的天才获奖挺好,是一次消解,一个解放。对此奖而言经年累月汇聚了太多的心理阴暗,国家的、民族的、政治的、个人的。。

Li Jingze: Yes, this is literature, and yes, this is poetry. What did you think literature was supposed to be? I edited some Chinese rock lyrics for a special magazine issue many years ago, and I knew at the time that I was in the presence of poetry.
李敬泽: 是的,这就是文学,这就是诗。你以为文学是什么几年前编杂志时编过一期中国的歌词摇滚,那时感到,诗在此。

Liao Weitang: In 2005 I saw a book about Alzheimer’s that had somehow gotten hold of old Bob Dylan’s face to put on the cover. I cried for Dylan.
廖伟棠: 2005年我在北京一家書店看到過這本關於老年癡呆症的書,封面竟然是不知從哪裡盜來的老Bob Dylan頭像。。。我當時就替Dylan哭了。


Miao Wei: Two of the three people who had the greatest influence on him were poets: Rimbaud and Verlaine. And he took the name “Dylan” from the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas.
苗炜: 对他影响最深的三位前辈中,有两位是诗人,兰波和魏尔伦。鲍勃·迪伦这个艺名,也来自于威尔士诗人迪伦·托马斯。

Qiu Lei: Congratulations to Adonis, Bob Dylan, Murakami, Fenghuang News, and 200,000 Weixin subscribers – joint winners of the 2016 Nobel for literature – see Hong Kong Free Press link below.
邱雷: 恭喜阿多尼斯、鲍勃迪伦、村上春树、凤凰新闻和 20 万个中国微信订阅号共同获得 2016 年诺贝尔文学奖

Wu Ang: Fucking baller!
巫昂说: 屌炸天

Yu Yishuang (a week before the announcement): Bet on Bob Dylan for the Nobel Prize every year, okay?
于一爽: nobel prize每年都赌bob dylan好吗

Yu Yishuang (after the announcement): I guessed right because of love.
于一爽说: 我是靠真爱猜中的

Zhao Zhiming: Fucking awesome. So many people are going to be sitting on their toilets, crying.
赵志明: 牛掰得不得了,好多人都坐马桶上哭了。

Zhu Yue: Personally I think it should have gone to Murakami.
朱岳: 我本人支持春上村树

A few more links:

And finally:

(Because there are only 65 sleeps left till Christmas in which to have nightmares of Bob in a wig.)


# 1.   

Great use of the Paper Republic 人民广场!

Bruce Humes, October 21, 2016, 1:07a.m.

# 2.   

鲍勃·迪伦的小说《毒蜘蛛》 I didn't know he wrote a novella ? Good for him. but how good is it?

Susan, October 21, 2016, 1:06p.m.

# 3.   

I like the calligraphy by 秋麦, by the look of it...

Susan, October 21, 2016, 1:11p.m.

# 4.   

reframing 回藝 - the art of 秋麦 ... I'd count him as a masterful trans-later ...

pre-fix one's gaze unto Chinese's landscaping tradition that is now buried alive with super-engineering wonderment by fast-flashy modern cameras

I am wading thru commentary:






susan, October 21, 2016, 5:28p.m.


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