This month, legendary musician Bob Dylan made history yet again by winning the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature. Dr. Jay Lutz, professor of French, was in Trinidad at the time and was invited to share his reflections on the win with the Trinidad Daily Express.
Dr. Lutz, who was attending the 2016 International Caribbean Conference “The Caribbean, Melting Pot of the Americas” and visiting the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, said that Dylan’s win is “an enormous change and it recognises a different kind of literature”.
The Trinidad Daily Express further wrote: “…’He had exciting lyrics. It is not unlike the response of other young radicals writing in their own era. There was Rimbaud, a poet who wrote in the 19th century. He was a young genius who completed his work by 21. He was inspirational and a radical. He inspired people like Patti Smith.’
Lutz added: ‘I know there has been shock and skepticism. Some people have been tracking his career. They would be ecstatic. His fans would be overjoyed. One of my colleagues was looking at Dylan to win the Nobel Prize. It would be interesting to hear their views.’
Lutz also said Dylan’s accomplishment was also motivational for teachers of literature who struggle with ‘interesting students’.
He said: ‘It will become an interesting way of connecting with young people. There are a lot of young people who would not know who he is. They would have to research his work. The older generation would know who he is.’
Asked what advice he would give to budding writers, thinkers and students of literature, Lutz said: ‘Read avariciously. Read seriously. You become a better writer when you are exposed to intellectual stimulation. Since we are focusing on the Caribbean, I would recommend the works of Haitian author Edwidge Danticat. Dylan took his songs seriously.’ …”