Minnesota heeft zowel de eerste als de nieuwste Amerikaanse Nobelprijswinnaar voor de literatuur voortgebracht. Maar hun Minnesota, een staat in bloei, is inmiddels verdord, schrijft George Blaustein.


Bob Dylan has received the Nobel Prize in Literature. He’s the 12th American to get it (depending on how you count), and the second American from Minnesota to get it. I wish they had given it to Prince, also a Minnesotan, before he died. And if “literature” means pop music, why not film? My money is on the Coen Brothers—also Minnesotans.

It so happens that the first American to get the Nobel Prize in Literature was from Minnesota, too. But it was a backhanded compliment.

Sinclair Lewis received the prize in 1930, for his satires of middle America. They reward re-reading now. His novels of the 1920s do not depict the Gatsby-ish Jazz Age (about which we’ve grown so nostalgic), and in the 1930s Lewis did not follow Steinbeckian Joads through Dust Bowls.

Lewis created a...