Bob Dylan as literature? Literary Twitter loses its collective mind

Singers Joan Baez and Bob Dylan
Singers Joan Baez and Bob Dylan perform during a civil rights rally on Aug. 28, 1963, in Washington D.C.
National Archives/Getty Images

Updated: 12:02 p.m. | Posted: 10:41 a.m.

America ended its drought for the Nobel prize in literature this morning — "A Hard Rain" fell. Bob Dylan was awarded the prize for "having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition," according to the committee. He is the first American to win since Toni Morrison in 1993.

But not everybody is happy about that.

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Though the Swedish Academy likened Dylan's work to that of legendary poets Homer and Sappho, some are getting hung up on whether music should be considered literature.

Let's let Twitter weigh in:

Wiggle what?

Critics savaged the song "Wiggle Wiggle" from Dylan's "Under the Red Sky" album. TIME named it one of the musician's 10 worst songs. It likely wasn't among the material the Nobel committee was considering.

This one will hurt: Booksellers often depend on a "prize boost" in sales when big literary honors are unveiled. iTunes may be enjoying a bump this morning, but bookstores likely aren't.

What counts as literature, anyway?

Last year's winner, Svetlana Alexievich, is best known for her work in capturing oral histories. Now that a nonfiction writer has been followed by a musician as recipients of one of the most prestigious literary prizes, fiction fans are feeling the stretch.

For every snarky swipe at the unexpected award, though, there are plenty of people excited about Dylan's literary recognition — and they have ideas about who should be next.

For others, it wasn't even unexpected. Fans have been angling for Dylan to take home a Nobel for years.

And, for the record, President Obama is all for it.

So what do you think? Tell us on Twitter @TheThreadMPR.