Nobel judge calls Dylan disrespectful for not responding to prize

Per Wastberg said that singer-songwriter Bob Dylan's lack of reaction showed 'arrogance'.

AP/File
Bob Dylan in Los Angeles in 2012.

A member of the Swedish Academy that awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in literature to Bob Dylan says the American singer-songwriter's silence since receiving the honor is "impolite and arrogant."

Per Wastberg said Dylan's lack of reaction to the honor the academy bestowed on him last week was predictable, but disrespectful nonetheless.

"One can say that it is impolite and arrogant. He is who he is," Wastberg was quoted as saying in Saturday's edition of the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

Wastberg said the academy still hopes to communicate with the 75-year-old artist, whose Nobel credits him with creating "new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition."

"We have agreed not to lift a finger. The ball lies entirely on his half," Wastberg told the newspaper. "You can speculate as much as you want but we don't." He was not immediately available for comments.

The academy said it has failed to reach the tight-lipped laureate since he became the first musician in the Nobel's 115-year history to win the prize in literature. The award was mentioned on Dylan's official Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Dylan spokesman Larry Jenkins did not respond to an email Saturday seeking comment.

The literature prize and five other Nobel Prizes will be officially conferred in Stockholm on Dec. 10, the anniversary of award founder Alfred Nobel's death in 1896.

Literature laureates have skipped the ceremony before. In 2004, Austrian playwright and novelist Elfriede Jelinek stayed home, citing a social phobia.

Harold Pinter and Alice Munro missed the ceremony for health reasons in 2005 and 2013, respectively.

Only two people have declined a Nobel Prize in literature. Boris Pasternak did so under pressure from Soviet authorities in 1958 and Jean-Paul Sartre, who declined all official honors, turned it down in 1964.

Although Dylan has not commented publicly on winning the Nobel, privacy and the price of fame have been themes in his music.

It's easy to read a response to Wastberg's remarks in the 1981 song, "The Groom's Still Waiting at The Altar."

"Try to be pure at heart, they arrest you for robbery," part of the lyrics say. "Mistake your shyness for aloofness, your silence for snobbery."

Each of this year's Nobel Prizes is worth 8 million Swedish kronor, or about $930,000.

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