Published: Wed, June 14, 2017
Entertaiment | By Lawrence Myers

Was Dylan too freewheelin' in borrowing for Nobel lecture?

Was Dylan too freewheelin' in borrowing for Nobel lecture?

It's pretty clear by now that Bob Dylan doesn't particularly care about being awarded a Nobel Prize for his work in literature, but perhaps his biggest middle finger to the organisation so far might be the story behind his recent lecture, which was a mandatory requirement for picking up the award and its nearly million-dollar prize.

Dylan discussed three books that had the biggest impact on his life including Herman Melville's "Moby Dick".

It was soon spotted that "quotes" uttered by the musician can't be found in the books, and this report could explain where they came from.

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In the SparkNotes book, Moby Dick is summarised as: "someone whose trials have led him toward God rather than bitterness". But Pitzer pointed that the phrase does not appear in the novel itself, although it appears in the SparkNotes synopsis.

In his speech, Dylan states: "Some men who receive injuries are led to God, others are led to bitterness".

"In the SparkNotes book on Moby Dick, it reads: ".a crew made up of men from many different countries and races". A representative of the singer-songwriter did not respond to a request for comment.

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Credit: William ClaxtonBob Dylan has been accused of plagiarism for years - of appropriating images from famous works of art for his paintings, lines from Humphrey Bogart movies, lines from poet Henry Timrod, lines from contemporary figures like Henry Rollins, and of course throughout his whole career he's borrowed musical and lyrical material from folk and pop sources. "Even John Lennon was known to use things as ordinary as a newspaper clipping or circus posters to embellish lyrics". He had until June 10th to deliver his lecture or forfeit the prize money of $900,000. He took weeks to publicly acknowledge winning the prize, did not attend December's Nobel ceremony in Stockholm, and left many wondering whether he would ever provide the traditional lecture.

Dylan recorded the 26-minute lecture in Los Angeles and provided it to the Swedish Academy, which called it "extraordinary" and "eloquent" in a news release on June 5.

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