Advertisement
Noisey

Bob Dylan May Have Cribbed His Nobel Speech from SparkNotes

TFW the book report is due tomorrow morning and it's midnight already.

by Phil Witmer
Jun 14 2017, 3:50pm

Last year, extremely famous and important writer of words and songs Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature. He responded to this by trolling the shit out of the Nobel Committee before finally accepting the prize. This month, Dylan recorded an official Nobel lecture reflecting on his literary influences, with particular emphasis on Moby-Dick. However, as various sources have pointed out and as investigated by this very in-depth Slate article, there's a chance that rock's poet laureate may be guilty of some undergrad-style plagiarism.

Specifically, as the Slate piece discovers, Dylan seems to have repeatedly described Moby-Dick using borrowed analyses from the novel's accompanying entry on everyone's favourite cheat sheet site SparkNotes. In some cases, Dylan attributed quotes to Herman Melville's writing that never appeared in Moby-Dick but bear a close resemblance to phrases from SparkNotes ("Some men who receive injuries are led to God, others are led to bitterness" is not a line of dialogue spoken by any character, for example).

Admittedly, Dylan began (and will likely end) his career recording covers before he decided to toss Biblical archetypes and pop-culture references together and set them to electric folk-rock, so he's a synthesist by nature. There's also the possibility this is yet another elaborate troll. In any case, you can listen to the speech below and read the comparison to SparkNotes here to see if you can figure out what's really going on.