On Tuesday March 12, 2013, 71-year-old Bob Dylan, who has already received an honorary Pulitzer Prize, a nomination from the National Book Critics Circle, for his memoir “Chronicles: Volume One" and is routinely mentioned as a Nobel candidate, became the first rock star voted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Academy officials had a problem deciding if Dylan belonged for his words or his music, and they solved the problem by making him an honorary member, saying:
Bob Dylan is a multi-talented artist whose work so thoroughly crosses several disciplines that it defies categorization.
Dylan joins the likes of Meryl Streep, Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese, who directed "No Direction Home," a 2005 documentary about Dylan, who have been similarly honored by the academy.
Dylan's song list includes "Blowin' in the Wind," "The Times They Are A-Changin'" and "Like a Rolling Stone". His songs and lyrics became anthems for the US civil rights and anti-war movements of the 60's
As the legendary Judy Collins observed:
We wanted so much to change the world; we all wanted to stop the war; we wanted to stop social injustice. They were good causes because they had an innocence about them. But there was something about what Dylan was doing, a certain sophistication, that deepened our understanding of what’s really going on here. Bob dragged us from literary immaturity and made us grow up emotionally. He dragged us into the world of alliteration and metaphor in a way that nobody else could do. He was our higher education.