Bob Dylan has been accused of plagiarising his Nobel Prize lecture from SparkNotes.
Dylan, who delivered his long-awaited speech on June 5th, was handed a six-month deadline to reveal his speech after the 76-year-old refused to attend the awards ceremony on December 10th in Stockholm.
If Dylan missed the deadline set by the Nobel Prize, he would be forced to repay the £700,000 prize fund he received after being awarded the prestigious literature honour.
“Our songs are alive in the land of the living. But songs are unlike literature. They’re meant to be sung, not read,” Dylan said in the speech that cited Buddy Holly and ‘The Odyssey’ among his inspirations.
“If a song moves you, that’s all that’s important. I don’t have to know what a song means. I’ve written all kinds of things into my songs. And I’m not going to worry about it – what it all means.”
The speech, which has been hailed by many, will now face an investigation after Slate Magazine uncovered similarities between the site’s entry on Moby-Dick and Dylan’s speech. Discussing the three books that had the biggest impact on his career, evidence shows multiple contentious moments. They quote:
“In Dylan’s recounting, a “Quaker pacifist priest” tells Flask, the third mate, “Some men who receive injuries are led to God, others are led to bitterness” (my emphasis). No such line appears anywhere in Herman Melville’s novel. 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).”
The website noted more than 19 further similarities between Dylan’s description of Moby-Dick and the summary on SparkNotes:
Dylan: “Captain Boomer – he lost an arm to Moby. But… he’s happy to have survived. He can’t accept Ahab’s lust for vengeance.”
SparkNotes: “Captain Boomer has lost an arm in an encounter with Moby Dick… Boomer, happy simply to have survived his encounter, cannot understand Ahab’s lust for vengeance.”
Dylan: “He calls Moby the emperor, sees him as the embodiment of evil.”
SparkNotes: “He sees this whale as the embodiment of evil.”
Dylan: “There’s a crazy prophet, Gabriel, on one of the vessels, and he predicts Ahab’s doom.”
SparkNotes: “One of the ships … carries Gabriel, a crazed prophet who predicts doom.”
See the full list, below: