Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize today. I sincerely hope he follows in the footsteps of Samuel Beckett who, in 1969, was awarded the same prize and, surprisingly, turned it down.
Imitators of Beckett, like Harold Pinter, for example, accepted it gladly. Imitators are aways glad when awards are handed out. It’s their form of ‘legitimacy’ since talent didn’t do it. On the other hand, there were others, of course, who’ve accepted the Nobel, such as the brilliant Dario Fo, who’s obit I registered on this Blog with great grief only this morning.
Here’s the news of Beckett’s disjection for the award written at the time….
Stockholm, Oct. 23–Samuel Beckett, the avant-garde writer acclaimed for his plays and novels of loneliness, despair and human degradation was announced today as the winner of the 1969 Nobel Prize in Literature.
The selection committee, comprising members of the Swedish Academy, cited him “for his writing, which–in forms for the novel and drama–in the destitution of modern man acquires its elevation.”
Mr. Beckett, who was born in Dublin 63 years ago, but now lives in Paris, is best known for his play “Waiting for Godot,” published in 1952, which evoked the futility of modern life.
Mr. Beckett could not be reached for comment on the prize. He was reported by his Paris publisher to be out of touch in Tunisia, and Nobel officials were unable to say whether he had received word of the award.
There was conjecture here that Mr. Beckett would refuse to come to Stockholm to accept the award, as is customary, at formal ceremonies on December. 10. The Nobel laureate in literature has traditionally addressed the Nobel banquet, but Mr. Beckett has rarely granted so much as an interview.
That’s a real HERO, a real ARTist.
Let’s see (and hope) that Dylan follows suit.