“Each time this occurs, our idea of literature changes.”
Dec 10, 2016 presentation speech on Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize and in response to international criticism of the choice of a popular lyricist as a recipient.
“What brings about the great shifts in the world of literature? Often it is when someone seizes upon a simple, overlooked form, discounted as art in the high sense, and makes it mutate. Thus, at one point, emerged the modern novel from anecdote and letter, thus arose drama in a new age from high jinx on planks placed on barrels in a marketplace, thus songs in the vernacular dethroned learned Latin poetry, thus too did La Fontaine take animal fables and Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales from the nursery to Parnassian heights. Each time this occurs, our idea of literature changes.”
– Horace Engdahl, Swedish, educator, professor, literary historian, critic, member of the Swedish academy that awards the Nobel prize.