Come holiday time, there’s never a shortage of splashy coffee table books to please just about any aficionado.
FASHION & STYLE
“Fashion Made Fair,” by Magdalena Schaffrin and Ellen Kohrer, Prestel, $49.95. Know someone deeply committed to sustainability in fashion? Taking a truly world view, this book dives deeply into companies that do it well. In Zurich, for instance, look to the brothers Freitag, Daniel and Markus. They’re bag makers who launched F-abric, a line of compostable workwear.
“Reigning Men, Fashion in Menswear, 1715-2015,” by Sharon Sadako Takeda, Kaye Durland Spilker and Clarissa M. Esguerra, DelMonico Books, $55. Going back to the 18th century, this tome celebrates all aspects of men’s dressing, from the French court to Speedo. Among contemporary high points: An intricately bleached denim suit by Vivienne Westwood and a futuristic ruffle suit by Rei Kawakubo for Comme des Garcons.
“Francois Nars,” by Francois Nars, Rizzoli International, $85. With some of the most famous faces in fashion represented, the visionary behind NARS Cosmetics tells his story in beautiful close-up color, with snippets of remembrances and inspirations. He includes the communion looks of both his parents and makes it clear beauty begins with beautiful skin.
THE MUSIC LIFE
“The Lyrics: 1961-2012,” by Bob Dylan, Simon & Schuster, $60. The Nobel Prize-winning man of the hour, and of oh-so-many hours, has released 36 studio albums that have sold more than 120 million copies. This book includes lyrics from his first album to “Tempest,” released in 2012. Dylan has edited dozens of songs for the book, to reflect the words he uses as he performs them now.
“The Rolling Stones: All the Songs, the Story Behind Every Track,” by Philippe Margotin and Jean-Michel Guesdon, Black Dog & Leventhal, $50. The book covers 50 years and 340 songs, beginning with the band’s 1963 debut album. More than 500 photos are included, along with details like what instruments were used in the studio.
“David Bowie Play Book,” by Matteo Guarnaccia and Giulia Pivetta, ACC Art Books, $29.95. What better way to honor the icon who died in January than with a color, cut and play set. Includes paper dolls and his favorite footwear spanning his ever-changing look and a coloring page of the people who inspired him, from Dylan to Marlene Dietrich.
THE BIG SCREEN
“Hollywood Icons,” by Robert Dance, ACC Editions, $65. Stunning studio portraits of film icons from the 1930s through the ‘60s from the collection of the John Kobal Foundation. Kobal was a film journalist and historian who amassed a huge collection of Hollywood portraits and set images. Look for Bette Davis, shot by George Hurrell for Warner Bros. in 1939.
“My Elizabeth,” by Firooz Zahedi, Glitterati, $75. Friend and acclaimed photographer Zahedi offers a private peek into Taylor’s life from 44 into her 70s. Includes the Washington, D.C., years, jaunts in Montauk, New York with Halston and Andy Warhol and intimate photos of her children and stepchildren. There’s Taylor making fried chicken, on a boat in Venice, on a trip to Iran.
“The Malkovich Sessions,” by Sandro Miller, Glitterati, $95. “Being John Malkovich” is so 1999. In this book, rather than on film, John Malkovich gets to be himself, in all his goofy, creepy glory. And he gets to recreate some of the world’s most iconic portraits, with the help of photographer Miller, in a book that offers both pathos and whimsy.
“Young Frankenstein, The Story of the Making of the Film,” by Mel Brooks, Black Dog & Leventhal, $29.99. Whether you’re a first-generation “Young Frankenstein” fan or trying to nudge along the next, nobody does this 1974 classic better than Brooks himself. With a foreword by Judd Apatow (“Even Gene Hackman is funny in it”) and behind-the-scenes photos, a great to hear the now 90-year-old Brooks in his own voice.
“Shop Cats of New York,” by Tamar Arslanian, photos by Andrew Marttila, Harper Design, $21.99. To heck with that Yelp reviewer who dissed the bodega cat. This book shows that shop life can work for felines, with a warning that not all may be treated like kings and queens. Dwelling in wine shops, bookstores, dry cleaners and yes, The Algonquin Hotel, think “Humans of New York,” only cats.
“Dream a World Anew: The African American Experience and the Shaping of America,” by National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Books, $40. As much a primer on the slave trade and racial discrimination as a celebration of early black entrepreneurs, musicians, writers, activists and athletes in a nuanced, global context. Marks the opening of the new museum in Washington, D.C., great for tweens and teens.
President Barack Obama said he’s sad that one of his and the first lady’s favorite traditions, musical night at the White House, ended on Friday.
Obama and his wife, Michelle, have reserved certain evenings over the past eight years to celebrate music that has helped shape America. They held big blowout concerts spotlighting classic, country, blues, Broadway, gospel, Motown, Latin and jazz either inside the White House or out on the lawn.
The tradition ended Friday as Obama kicked off his final musical night, BET’s “Love and Happiness” event in a tent on the South Lawn.
He joked that he wouldn’t be singing any Al Green — despite the concert title. When Obama sang the opening lines of Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” at a fundraiser at Harlem’s Apollo Theater in January 2012, the video went viral.
“We’ve had Bob Dylan and we’ve had Jennifer Hudson. Gloria Estefan and Los Lobos. Aretha, Patti, Smokey,” Obama said to open the show. “I’ve had Paul McCartney singing ‘Michelle’ to Michelle and Stevie singing ‘Happy Birthday.’”
“We’ve had Buddy Guy and Mick Jagger getting me to sing ‘Sweet Home Chicago,’” he continued. “So this has been one of our favorite traditions, and it’s with a little bit of bittersweetness that this is our final musical evening as president and first lady.”
Jill Scott opened with a booming version of her hit “Run Run Run.” The show was also featuring performances by Usher, The Roots, Bell Biv DeVoe, Janelle Monae, De La Soul, Yolanda Adams, Michelle Williams and Kiki Sheard.
Actors Samuel L. Jackson, Jesse Williams of “Grey’s Anatomy” and Angela Bassett were also appearing.
Terrence J, the former host of BET’s “106 & Park,” and actress-comedian Regina Hall were the presenters.
Obama described the ability to summon celebrities as “one of the perks of the job that we’ll miss most, along with Air Force One, and Marine One,” the presidential helicopter. “You know, if you can just call up Usher and say, ‘Hey, come on over …’”
Before taking a seat in the front row alongside Mrs. Obama, the president reviewed White House musical history and said live performances have always been a part of life there, dating to 1801 when the U.S. Marine Band played at the first reception hosted by President John and Abigail Adams.
President Chester Arthur invited an all-black singing group to perform, and Teddy Roosevelt welcomed ragtime composer Scott Joplin because Roosevelt’s daughter wanted to hear that “new jazz,” Obama said.
Guests of President John F. Kennedy even did the “twist” in the East Room, “which may not sound like a big deal to you, but that was sort of the twerking of their time,” Obama told the star-studded audience of several hundred people, seated in an elaborate tent that was used earlier in the week for the Obamas’ final state dinner. “There will be no twerking tonight. At least not by me. I don’t know about Usher.”
Obama said the White House is the “People’s House,” so it makes sense that it reflect the diversity, imagination and ingenuity of the American people.
He said that, although much of the music being performed at Friday’s taping “is rooted in the African-American experience, it’s not just black music. It’s an essential part of the American experience.”
“It’s a mirror to who we are, and a reminder of who we can be,” Obama added. “That’s what American music’s all about.”
BET says it will broadcast the show on Nov. 15.
On the Web
Remarks by the president at BET concert.
The Swedish Academy announced on Oct. 13 that Bob Dylan is this year’s winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.
The prize has been awarded since 1901, when French poet Sully Prudhomme became the inaugural winner of the literature award.
The 2015 laureate was Belarusian writer and journalist Svetlana Alexievich.
The average age of the winning author is 65.
Rudyard Kipling, the British author who is perhaps best known for The Jungle Book, is still the youngest recipient from 1907 when he was 41.
The 2007 winner, Doris Lessing, also British, is the oldest at 88. Lessing, whose work ranged from memoir to science fiction, is one of only 14 female laureates.
Dylan will receive 8 million Swedish kronor (about $930,000), as well as a cherished medal.
Only two individuals have declined the award.
Boris Pasternak, who was best-known for the epic Doctor Zhivago, refused the award in 1958 following pressure from authorities in the Soviet Union, while French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre rejected it in 1964 because of a long opposition to such honors.
Here’s the list…
“for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 2015
“for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 2014
“for the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 2013
“master of the contemporary short story”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 2012
“who with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 2011
“because, through his condensed, translucent images, he gives us fresh access to reality”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 2010
Mario Vargas Llosa
“for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual’s resistance, revolt, and defeat”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 2009
“who, with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 2008
Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio
“author of new departures, poetic adventure and sensual ecstasy, explorer of a humanity beyond and below the reigning civilization”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 2007
“that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 2006
“who in the quest for the melancholic soul of his native city has discovered new symbols for the clash and interlacing of cultures”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 2005
“who in his plays uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression’s closed rooms”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 2004
“for her musical flow of voices and counter-voices in novels and plays that with extraordinary linguistic zeal reveal the absurdity of society’s clichés and their subjugating power”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 2003
John M. Coetzee
“who in innumerable guises portrays the surprising involvement of the outsider”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 2002
“for writing that upholds the fragile experience of the individual against the barbaric arbitrariness of history”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 2001
Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul
“for having united perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 2000
“for an æuvre of universal validity, bitter insights and linguistic ingenuity, which has opened new paths for the Chinese novel and drama”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1999
“whose frolicsome black fables portray the forgotten face of history”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1998
“who with parables sustained by imagination, compassion and irony continually enables us once again to apprehend an elusory reality”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1997
“who emulates the jesters of the Middle Ages in scourging authority and upholding the dignity of the downtrodden”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1996
“for poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1995
“for works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1994
“who with poetic force creates an imagined world, where life and myth condense to form a disconcerting picture of the human predicament today”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1993
“who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1992
“for a poetic oeuvre of great luminosity, sustained by a historical vision, the outcome of a multicultural commitment”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1991
“who through her magnificent epic writing has – in the words of Alfred Nobel – been of very great benefit to humanity”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1990
“for impassioned writing with wide horizons, characterized by sensuous intelligence and humanistic integrity”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1989
Camilo José Cela
“for a rich and intensive prose, which with restrained compassion forms a challenging vision of man’s vulnerability”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1988
“who, through works rich in nuance – now clear-sightedly realistic, now evocatively ambiguous – has formed an Arabian narrative art that applies to all mankind”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1987
“for an all-embracing authorship, imbued with clarity of thought and poetic intensity”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1986
“who in a wide cultural perspective and with poetic overtones fashions the drama of existence”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1985
“who in his novel combines the poet’s and the painter’s creativeness with a deepened awareness of time in the depiction of the human condition”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1984
“for his poetry which endowed with freshness, sensuality and rich inventiveness provides a liberating image of the indomitable spirit and versatility of man”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1983
“for his novels which, with the perspicuity of realistic narrative art and the diversity and universality of myth, illuminate the human condition in the world of today”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1982
Gabriel García Márquez
“for his novels and short stories, in which the fantastic and the realistic are combined in a richly composed world of imagination, reflecting a continent’s life and conflicts”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1981
“for writings marked by a broad outlook, a wealth of ideas and artistic power”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1980
“who with uncompromising clear-sightedness voices man’s exposed condition in a world of severe conflicts”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1979
“for his poetry, which, against the background of Greek tradition, depicts with sensuous strength and intellectual clear-sightedness modern man’s struggle for freedom and creativeness”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1978
Isaac Bashevis Singer
“for his impassioned narrative art which, with roots in a Polish-Jewish cultural tradition, brings universal human conditions to life”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1977
“for a creative poetic writing which illuminates man’s condition in the cosmos and in present-day society, at the same time representing the great renewal of the traditions of Spanish poetry between the wars”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1976
“for the human understanding and subtle analysis of contemporary culture that are combined in his work”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1975
“for his distinctive poetry which, with great artistic sensitivity, has interpreted human values under the sign of an outlook on life with no illusions”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1974
“for a narrative art, far-seeing in lands and ages, in the service of freedom”
“for writings that catch the dewdrop and reflect the cosmos”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1973
“for an epic and psychological narrative art which has introduced a new continent into literature”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1972
“for his writing which through its combination of a broad perspective on his time and a sensitive skill in characterization has contributed to a renewal of German literature”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1971
“for a poetry that with the action of an elemental force brings alive a continent’s destiny and dreams”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1970
Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn
“for the ethical force with which he has pursued the indispensable traditions of Russian literature”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1969
“for his writing, which – in new forms for the novel and drama – in the destitution of modern man acquires its elevation”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1968
“for his narrative mastery, which with great sensibility expresses the essence of the Japanese mind”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1967
Miguel Angel Asturias
“for his vivid literary achievement, deep-rooted in the national traits and traditions of Indian peoples of Latin America”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1966
Shmuel Yosef Agnon
“for his profoundly characteristic narrative art with motifs from the life of the Jewish people”
“for her outstanding lyrical and dramatic writing, which interprets Israel’s destiny with touching strength”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1965
Mikhail Aleksandrovich Sholokhov
“for the artistic power and integrity with which, in his epic of the Don, he has given expression to a historic phase in the life of the Russian people”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1964
“for his work which, rich in ideas and filled with the spirit of freedom and the quest for truth, has exerted a far-reaching influence on our age”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1963
“for his eminent lyrical writing, inspired by a deep feeling for the Hellenic world of culture”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1962
“for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour and keen social perception”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1961
“for the epic force with which he has traced themes and depicted human destinies drawn from the history of his country”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1960
“for the soaring flight and the evocative imagery of his poetry which in a visionary fashion reflects the conditions of our time”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1959
“for his lyrical poetry, which with classical fire expresses the tragic experience of life in our own times”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1958
Boris Leonidovich Pasternak
“for his important achievement both in contemporary lyrical poetry and in the field of the great Russian epic tradition”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1957
“for his important literary production, which with clear-sighted earnestness illuminates the problems of the human conscience in our times”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1956
Juan Ramón Jiménez
“for his lyrical poetry, which in Spanish language constitutes an example of high spirit and artistical purity”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1955
Halldór Kiljan Laxness
“for his vivid epic power which has renewed the great narrative art of Iceland”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1954
Ernest Miller Hemingway
“for his mastery of the art of narrative, most recently demonstrated in The Old Man and the Sea, and for the influence that he has exerted on contemporary style”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1953
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill
“for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1952
“for the deep spiritual insight and the artistic intensity with which he has in his novels penetrated the drama of human life”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1951
Pär Fabian Lagerkvist
“for the artistic vigour and true independence of mind with which he endeavours in his poetry to find answers to the eternal questions confronting mankind”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1950
Earl (Bertrand Arthur William) Russell
“in recognition of his varied and significant writings in which he champions humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1949
“for his powerful and artistically unique contribution to the modern American novel”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1948
Thomas Stearns Eliot
“for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1947
André Paul Guillaume Gide
“for his comprehensive and artistically significant writings, in which human problems and conditions have been presented with a fearless love of truth and keen psychological insight”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1946
“for his inspired writings which, while growing in boldness and penetration, exemplify the classical humanitarian ideals and high qualities of style”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1945
“for her lyric poetry which, inspired by powerful emotions, has made her name a symbol of the idealistic aspirations of the entire Latin American world”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1944
Johannes Vilhelm Jensen
“for the rare strength and fertility of his poetic imagination with which is combined an intellectual curiosity of wide scope and a bold, freshly creative style”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1943
No Nobel Prize was awarded this year. The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section.
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1942
No Nobel Prize was awarded this year. The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section.
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1941
No Nobel Prize was awarded this year. The prize money was with 1/3 allocated to the Main Fund and with 2/3 to the Special Fund of this prize section.
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1940
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1939
Frans Eemil Sillanpää
“for his deep understanding of his country’s peasantry and the exquisite art with which he has portrayed their way of life and their relationship with Nature”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1938
“for her rich and truly epic descriptions of peasant life in China and for her biographical masterpieces”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1937
Roger Martin du Gard
“for the artistic power and truth with which he has depicted human conflict as well as some fundamental aspects of contemporary life in his novel-cycle Les Thibault”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1936
Eugene Gladstone O’Neill
“for the power, honesty and deep-felt emotions of his dramatic works, which embody an original concept of tragedy”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1935
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1934
“for his bold and ingenious revival of dramatic and scenic art”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1933
Ivan Alekseyevich Bunin
“for the strict artistry with which he has carried on the classical Russian traditions in prose writing”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1932
“for his distinguished art of narration which takes its highest form in The Forsyte Saga”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1931
Erik Axel Karlfeldt
“The poetry of Erik Axel Karlfeldt”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1930
“for his vigorous and graphic art of description and his ability to create, with wit and humour, new types of characters”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1929
“principally for his great novel, Buddenbrooks, which has won steadily increased recognition as one of the classic works of contemporary literature”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1928
“principally for her powerful descriptions of Northern life during the Middle Ages”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1927
“in recognition of his rich and vitalizing ideas and the brilliant skill with which they have been presented”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1926
“for her idealistically inspired writings which with plastic clarity picture the life on her native island and with depth and sympathy deal with human problems in general”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1925
George Bernard Shaw
“for his work which is marked by both idealism and humanity, its stimulating satire often being infused with a singular poetic beauty”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1924
Wladyslaw Stanislaw Reymont
“for his great national epic, The Peasants”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1923
William Butler Yeats
“for his always inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1922
“for the happy manner in which he has continued the illustrious traditions of the Spanish drama”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1921
“in recognition of his brilliant literary achievements, characterized as they are by a nobility of style, a profound human sympathy, grace, and a true Gallic temperament”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1920
Knut Pedersen Hamsun
“for his monumental work, Growth of the Soil”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1919
Carl Friedrich Georg Spitteler
“in special appreciation of his epic, Olympian Spring”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1918
No Nobel Prize was awarded this year. The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section.
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1917
Karl Adolph Gjellerup
“for his varied and rich poetry, which is inspired by lofty ideals”
“for his authentic descriptions of present-day life in Denmark”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1916
Carl Gustaf Verner von Heidenstam
“in recognition of his significance as the leading representative of a new era in our literature”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1915
“as a tribute to the lofty idealism of his literary production and to the sympathy and love of truth with which he has described different types of human beings”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1914
No Nobel Prize was awarded this year. The prize money was allocated to the Special Fund of this prize section.
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1913
“because of his profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse, by which, with consummate skill, he has made his poetic thought, expressed in his own English words, a part of the literature of the West”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1912
Gerhart Johann Robert Hauptmann
“primarily in recognition of his fruitful, varied and outstanding production in the realm of dramatic art”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1911
Count Maurice (Mooris) Polidore Marie Bernhard Maeterlinck
“in appreciation of his many-sided literary activities, and especially of his dramatic works, which are distinguished by a wealth of imagination and by a poetic fancy, which reveals, sometimes in the guise of a fairy tale, a deep inspiration, while in a mysterious way they appeal to the readers’ own feelings and stimulate their imaginations”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1910
Paul Johann Ludwig Heyse
“as a tribute to the consummate artistry, permeated with idealism, which he has demonstrated during his long productive career as a lyric poet, dramatist, novelist and writer of world-renowned short stories”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1909
Selma Ottilia Lovisa Lagerlöf
“in appreciation of the lofty idealism, vivid imagination and spiritual perception that characterize her writings”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1908
Rudolf Christoph Eucken
“in recognition of his earnest search for truth, his penetrating power of thought, his wide range of vision, and the warmth and strength in presentation with which in his numerous works he has vindicated and developed an idealistic philosophy of life”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1907
“in consideration of the power of observation, originality of imagination, virility of ideas and remarkable talent for narration which characterize the creations of this world-famous author”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1906
“not only in consideration of his deep learning and critical research, but above all as a tribute to the creative energy, freshness of style, and lyrical force which characterize his poetic masterpieces”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1905
“because of his outstanding merits as an epic writer”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1904
“in recognition of the fresh originality and true inspiration of his poetic production, which faithfully reflects the natural scenery and native spirit of his people, and, in addition, his significant work as a Provençal philologist”
José Echegaray y Eizaguirre
“in recognition of the numerous and brilliant compositions which, in an individual and original manner, have revived the great traditions of the Spanish drama”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1903
Bjørnstjerne Martinus Bjørnson
“as a tribute to his noble, magnificent and versatile poetry, which has always been distinguished by both the freshness of its inspiration and the rare purity of its spirit”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1902
Christian Matthias Theodor Mommsen
“the greatest living master of the art of historical writing, with special reference to his monumental work, A history of Rome”
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1901
“in special recognition of his poetic composition, which gives evidence of lofty idealism, artistic perfection and a rare combination of the qualities of both heart and intellect”
Bob Dylan, regarded as the voice of a generation for his influential songs from the 1960s onwards, won the Nobel Prize for Literature in a surprise decision that made him the only singer-songwriter to win the award.
The 75-year-old Dylan — who won the prize for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition” — now finds himself in the company of Winston Churchill, Thomas Mann and Rudyard Kipling as Nobel laureates.
Dylan’s songs, such as “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “The Times They Are a-Changin’,” “Subterranean Homesick Blues” and “Like a Rolling Stone” captured a spirit of rebellion, dissent and independence.
More than 50 years on, Dylan is still writing songs and is often on tour, performing his dense poetic lyrics.
“Blowin’ in the Wind,” written in 1962, was considered one of the most eloquent folk songs of all time. “The Times They Are A-Changin'”, in which Dylan told Americans “your sons and your daughters are beyond your command,” was an anthem of the civil rights movement and Vietnam War protests.
Awarding the 8 million Swedish crown ($930,000) prize, the Swedish Academy said: “Dylan has the status of an icon. His influence on contemporary music is profound.”
Swedish Academy member Per Wastberg said: “He is probably the greatest living poet.”
Asked if he thought Dylan’s Nobel lecture — traditionally given by the laureate in Stockholm later in the year — would be a concert, replied: “Let’s hope so.”
Sara Danius, Permanent Secretary of the Nobel Academy, told a news conference there was “great unity” in the panel’s decision to give Dylan the prize.
Dylan’s spokesman, Elliott Mintz, declined immediate comment when reached by phone, citing the early hour in Los Angeles, where it was 3 a.m. at the time of the announcement.
Dylan was due to give a concert in Las Vegas on Thursday evening.
Literature was the last of this year’s Nobel prizes to be awarded.
The prize is named after dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel and has been awarded since 1901 for achievements in science, literature and peace in accordance with his will.
Some Dylan details …
• Bob Dylan began his career as an acoustic singer-songwriter specializing in protest songs such as “Blowin’ In The Wind.” His first album was the eponymous Bob Dylan released in 1962.
• Dylan created a controversy at the Newport, Rhode Island, folk festival in 1965 when he set aside his acoustic guitar and played an electric guitar. He played three songs and some in the crowd booed but it remains unclear if the booing was because of the electric guitar, the short set or bad audio quality.
• Dylan dropped out of the public eye after a July 1966 motorcycle accident. Few details about the crash were revealed but it allowed him to escape the mounting pressures of fame and he did not tour again for almost eight years. During that period, he recorded some remarkable music with The Band.
• Dylan has generally eschewed praise, including from critics and fans labeling him an artist, a poet or the voice of his generation. He has variously described himself as a trapeze artist, an “ashtray bender,” a “rabbit catcher” and a “dog smoother”.
• He once told Rolling Stone magazine: “I live in my dreams. I don’t really live in the actual world.”
* Dylan is of Jewish heritage — his real name is Robert Zimmerman. He became a Christian in 1979 after a divorce. He released three albums of religious-based music, then mostly left off making overt references to Christianity in his songs until he surprised fans with a 2009 Christmas album.
• Famous lyrics include:
“You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”
“‘Come in,’ she said, ‘I’ll give you shelter from the storm’.”
“The ladder of the law has no top and no bottom.”
“I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken/I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children … And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.”
Bob Dylan is returning to Tanglewood for the first time in nearly two decades.
The singer-songwriter with a longer than 50-year career is scheduled to play at the concert venue in the Berkshires with special guest Mavis Staples on July 7.
Dylan has performed twice before at Tanglewood, first in 1991 and again during the 1997 season. Tickets for this summer’s show go on sale March 18.
Form his start in the 1960s, Dylan has delved into a variety of musical styles from folk to rock, to blues, country and more.
Tanglewood’s popular artists lineup this summer also includes Wind & Fire, Beach Boys co-founder Brian Wilson, Jackson Browne, James Taylor, Train and The B-52s.
Tanglewood is the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
On the web …
Most singer-songwriters start early, taking up instruments in their teens or early 20s and using them and their voices in tandem to forge their path in the music business.
Joshua Radin, on the other hand, didn’t pick up a guitar until he was 30, and says he became a musician “totally by chance.” All he wanted was to learn enough chords to play a Bob Dylan song and it snowballed from there. “Pretty shortly thereafter I started writing my own songs and stopped learning cover songs,” he says.
He didn’t have to wait long to earn public attention. Radin’s song “Winter” was used on a 2004 episode of Scrubs, and the exposure launched Radin’s career. He’s been performing ever since and this month will return to Milwaukee’s Pabst Theater, a personal favorite venue, for the first time in three years.
Radin says his career has been on a “slow organic build for the past 10 years.” He’s continued to write his own material, with key inspiration from “classic, great songwriters” like Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Nick Drake and Elliott Smith, among others. Vocally, though, he says he thinks his biggest influence has been Paul Simon, both in Simon’s solo work and his earlier collaborations with Art Garfunkel.
Radin’s current tour supports Onward and Sideways, his sixth studio album and second self-released record, issued in early January. He says the album was inspired by his effort to tell a woman in his life about his love for her. “We had been friends for about five years, platonic friends, and I finally got up the nerve to tell her how I felt,” he says. “But I didn’t have the nerve to do it in telling her; I had to do it in song.”
So far, it’s worked, he adds, but don’t be afraid romantic bliss will eliminate Radin’s need to write love songs. “With the right woman,” he says, “you have to woo her for the rest of your life.”
Radin recorded his first four albums with Columbia and then independent label Mom + Pop, but he decided to step out on his own with 2013’s Wax Wings. “I just like to be the only cook in the kitchen,” he says, and being on a major label didn’t afford him that ability. Releasing albums on his own terms lets him determine how it sounds, and he says his fan base has been loyal enough that he doesn’t need a major label for the sales.
He also doesn’t need them to reel in big guest stars. Onward and Sideways features a new recording of Radin’s “Beautiful Day” (first released on Wax Wings) as a duet with Sheryl Crow.
The duo connected when Radin performed as an opening act for Crow six or seven years ago. When he was approached by a car manufacturer to use “Beautiful Day” as the background for a commercial, he decided to change things up a bit and reached out to his former tourmate. “I’ve always been a fan of her music,” he says, “but then I became a big fan of her personally as well. … I just called and asked if she would do it, and she said yeah, and she nailed it.”
Radin says his live show is “about as intimate as you can possibly get,” especially now that he’s broken his touring band down to a trio. “I try to make the show feel like you’re in my living room, as cozy and intimate as possible, and I tell stories about the songs,” he says. “I really try to take the walls down between performer and audience.”
Yet while Radin’s songs are beloved for their personal feel, his goals for the future include steering away from that sort of narrative. While he says his work up to now has been similar to journal entries, he’d like to move on to taking on the personas of other people in his music — as he puts it, “jumping into the skin of someone else and looking out through their eyes.”
It’s a bold new aspiration for the songwriter as he embarks on the second decade of his singing career — and one Milwaukee audiences will surely hope they don’t have to wait another three years to see.
Joshua Radin performs at the Pabst Theater, 144 E. Wells St., at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 19. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at 414-286-3663 or pabsttheater.org.
Bob Dylan :: ‘Shadows In the Night’: Casual listeners may see Bob Dylan recording an album of Sinatra songs as a shock. More experienced fans will find Shadows in the Night less a departure and more a definitive statement of Bob Dylan at 73. Many of the songs have been on prior touring setlists, including “That Lucky Old Sun” and “Stay With Me.” Sinatra would have sung them with an orchestral arrangement; Dylan just uses his guitar-heavy touring band. That gives the album an air of intimacy, and inspires some of the most measured vocal work in his career. Close your eyes, lean back and, as Dylan croons “Some Enchanted Evening,” you just might find a wide smile breaking across your face.
Diana Krall :: ‘Wallflower’: Jazz artist Diana Krall has had a tough year and it shows in Wildflower, a melancholy but compelling set of pop and rock covers. Krall lost her father last year and Wallflower was delayed three months by her bout with pneumonia. Most of the covers are soft rock classics, so familiar it’s tough to make them sound unexpected. Krall achieves it. “California Dreamin’” opens the album with a bleakness that will chill the listener to the bone. Her whispery interpretation of the Carpenters’ “Superstar” makes the song compellingly self-reflective. When she’s joined by Michael Buble on Gilbert O’Sullivan’s “Alone Again (Naturally),” the simple, beautiful melody peeks through like never before. True, the album’s moodiness makes it feel longer than 12 songs. But in smaller doses, this is an elegant, worthy addition to the Diana Krall catalogue.
Hozier :: ‘hozier’: If you’ve missed Irish singer-songwriter Hozier’s breakout single “Take Me to Church,” you haven’t been paying attention. The lapsed-Catholic-blues anthem with an irresistible gospel hook was nominated for a Grammy, climbed to No. 2 on the charts and surely contributed to Hozier’s sold-out Riverside show on Feb. 21. Impressively, his self-titled debut, released last fall, rarely falls below “Take Me to Church’s” high bar. Devotees of fellow Irish troubadour Van Morrison will find much to love in Hozier. He gives a nod to rugged ’60s R&B on “Jackie and Wilson.” The haunting “Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene” digs deeper into the blues. The second half slows too much, but Hozier promises greater things to come.
George Ezra :: ‘Wanted On Voyage’: If the first time you heard British singer-songwriter George Ezra’s single “Budapest” you assumed he was a singer twice his 21 years, don’t feel bad. Ezra may be a contemporary of equally precocious songwriters Jake Bugg and Ed Sheeran, but his deep-throated voice better resembles Bob Dylan’s. In Wanted On Voyage, Ezra’s voice pairs disturbing lyrics with effortlessly sunny arrangements, with great effect. In one song, “Drawing Board,” he fantasizes about ways to rid himself of an absent lover — including a haircut with Sweeney Todd. George Ezra has topped charts at home in the U.K. and this constantly engaging debut is the perfect U.S. introduction.
Various Artists, “Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes” (Electromagnetic Recordings/Harvest Records)
The bottomless well of material from Bob Dylan just got deeper with the release of “Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes,” an unqualified success.
The 20 songs with titles like “Card Shark” and “Duncan and Jimmy” are taken from recently discovered lyrics Dylan wrote in 1967, during the period that produced the so-called Basement Tapes recordings that were released in their entirety in a separate box set earlier in November.
Such luminaries as Elvis Costello, Jim James from My Morning Jacket, and Marcus Mumford worked out musical arrangements from the lyrics that Dylan either never recorded, or perhaps recorded and never released. Former Dylan band member and producer T Bone Burnett, who also pulled together the “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou” soundtrack among many other projects, oversaw the work and makes it all flow seamlessly.
“Down On The Bottom,” the James-led opener, is a standout, as is “When I Get My Hands On You,” with Mumford taking lead vocals.
The artists create something entirely new with lyrics written nearly 45 years ago that sound like they could just as easily have come from the Civil War, Dust Bowl or yesterday.
In other words, it’s timeless.