Was Dylan too freewheelin' in borrowing for Nobel lecture?

Dylan Speaks: His Nobel Speech Is a Defense of the Western Canon

Dylan, the surprise victor of the Nobel Prize for Literature, last week delivered a long-awaited lecture that was a requirement to receive the eight million kroner (USD 923,000) prize from the Swedish Academy.

Bob Dylan's speech seemed to mirror the SparkNotes synopsis of "Moby-Dick".

The saga began when writer Ben Greenman pointed out on his blog on June 6 that Dylan appeared to have invented a quote from "Moby Dick", which Dylan discussed in the lecture along with Buddy Holly, "The Odyssey" and "All Quiet on the Western Front".

The magazine then noted 19 further similarities between Dylan's remarks on Moby Dick and the summary on SparkNotes. "However, SparkNotes' character list describes the preacher using similar phrasing, as "someone whose trials have led him toward God rather than bitterness" (again, emphasis mine)".

However, now Slate has argued that large portions of his speech that appear to be lifted from online study website, Sparknotes - noting that 20 sentences in Dylan's lecture closely resemble the site's entry on entry on "Moby Dick".

Yesterday, these doubts came to a head with accusations by Slate's Andrea Pitzer that Dylan had plagiarized parts of his speech from SparkNotes, an online service that summarizes commonly-read books for time-pressed high school and college procrastinators everywhere.




For instance, Dylan spoke of how: "The ship's crew is made up of men of different races".

A rep for Dylan did not return Fox News' request for comment.

After months of speculation, Dylan gave his lecture earlier this month to the Nobel Academy in Los Angeles. Dylan accepted his noble prize earlier this year and upon acceptance has finally delivered his overdue Nobel-winning lecture via an audio link last week, mere days ahead of the deadline to claim the accompanying $1.3 million paycheque.

In his speech, Dylan said that "Captain Boomer - he lost an arm to Moby". This is not the first time Dylan has been accused of plagiarism.

The investigation was prompted by the discovery that the musician had quoted a passage which does not appear in any current editions of Herman Melville's novel. According to the Slate article, "When he started out, Dylan absorbed classic tunes and obscure compositions alike from musicians he met, recording versions that would become more famous than anything by those who taught him the songs or even the original songwriters". It has to do with melody and rhythm, and then after that, anything goes.

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