Once the most prominent voice in protest music, Bob Dylan has been collecting a lot of upper-crust citations.
He's received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Medal of Arts and France's Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres, not to mention 10 Grammy Awards and an Oscar.
Now he's the first rock star to be voted into the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Letters, home to writers Ezra Pound, Phillip Roth, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Sinclair Lewis and Kurt Vonnegut and composer Duke Ellington. Categories include music, literature and visual arts, embracing such members as Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Rothko, Jasper Johns, Frank Lloyd Wright and Roy Lichtenstein.
Uncertain whether to recognize Dylan for his words or music, the academy opted to anoint the singer/songwriter an honorary member, as they did with earlier picks Meryl Streep, Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese.
Author and 2012 inductee Michael Chabon will give the keynote address, entitled Rock 'n' Roll, at the May induction ceremony in New York. With tour dates booked in April and May, Dylan, 71, is unlikely to attend.
Three other honorary members were announced Tuesday: Spanish architect Rafael Moneo, South African writer Damon Galgut and Belgian artist Luc Tuymans. Also voted in were novelist Ward Just, artist Richard Tuttle and painter/printmaker Terry Winters.
The academy, founded in 1898, boasts 250 members, excluding honorary designees.