Bob Dylan May Have Plagiarized His Nobel Prize Speech from Sparknotes

During his Nobel Prize Lecture at the Swedish Academy in Los Angeles earlier this month, Dylan gave a speech that heavily referenced multiple pieces of literature — including Moby Dick, The Odyssey and All Quiet on the Western Front. Which would be fine, if Dylan had referenced these works of art directly with exact quotes from the work. But now there are allegations, led by some research by Andrea Pitzer over at Slate that make the situation seem otherwise.


The first hint that Dylan may have received some unauthorized help in writing his lecture came when writer Ben Greenman noticed that the singer included a Moby Dick “quote” in his speech that may not have been a quote at all. Pitzer then set to work attempting to figure out where this phantom quote originated from, and found similar references in SparkNotes posts online. You can read her full investigation results over at Slate, but one possibly damning example of Dylan’s quote-lifting is as such:


Dylan: Another ship’s captain – Captain Boomer – he lost an arm to Moby. But he tolerates that, and he’s happy to have survived. He can’t accept Ahab’s lust for vengeance.

SparkNotes: “…a whaling ship whose skipper, 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.”

See the whole story on UpRoxx.

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