Culture&Arts

Was Dylan too freewheelin' in borrowing for Nobel lecture?

Was Dylan too freewheelin' in borrowing for Nobel lecture?

The lines they're not a-changin'.

Bob Dylan's lecture for his Nobel Prize in literature has been discovered to be oddly similar to phrases from the summary of "Moby Dick" on Sparknotes, a modern online "Cliff's Notes" for students. But Pitzer pointed that the phrase does not appear in the novel itself, although it appears in the SparkNotes synopsis.

The similarities between the words Dylan used and some phrasing the SparkNotes entry for Moby Dick are uncanny, reports Slate.

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So, was Dylan's analysis of classic tales Moby-Dick, The Odyssey and All Quiet on the Western Front just that spot on, or did the famous poet jack his ideas outright from an online study tool? In his speech, the Minnesota-born bard points to Herman Melville's "Moby Dick" as having an influence on him.

In his lecture, Dylan quoted a Quaker priest who, in the aftermath of a storm at sea, tells another character: "Some men who receive injuries are led to God, others are led to bitterness".

In the SparkNotes book, Moby Dick is summarised as: "someone whose trials have led him toward God rather than bitterness".

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Lifting from earlier works is much more commonplace in music than in literature, where accusations of plagiarism are a major dent on reputation. 1965's "Desolation Row", for instance, presents a literary hodgepodge of everyone from Albert Einstein to Romeo and Juliet shouting made-up poetry, and years ago astute fans noticed that several lines from Dylan's 2001 album Love and Theft seemed to originate in Junichi Saga's book Confessions of a Yakuza.

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Dylan and a spokesman for the Swedish Academy weren't immediately available for comment.

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