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Did Bob Dylan Crib From an Online CliffsNotes-Type Site in His Nobel Prize Speech?

Jun 14, 2017  •  Post A Comment

Bob Dylan’s Nobel Lecture in Literature — you can hear it in its entirety below — appears to have borrowed liberally from SparkNotes, an online CliffsNotes-style site that summarizes works of literature.

In an entertaining piece on slate.com, Andrea Pitzer tracks a number of instances in the speech in which the Nobel Laureate discusses works of literature using phrases that appear to parallel the notes — phrases that are reportedly not contained in the literary works themselves.

Dylan focuses on the influence in his life of three literary works: “The Odyssey,” “All Quiet on the Western Front” and “Moby-Dick.” Among the many examples laid out by Pitzer, Dylan says of “Moby-Dick,” “Ahab’s got a wife and child back in Nantucket that he reminisces about now and then.”

Pitzer notes that this reference echoes SparkNotes, which says, “… musing on his wife and child back in Nantucket.” Pitzer notes that the phrase “wife and child back in Nantucket” does not appear in the novel.

Pitzer goes on to cite a series of similar “coincidences.”

Dylan has borrowed freely from literary works throughout his career, and has defended the practice, something Pitzer discusses in the piece.

Here’s Dylan’s Nobel Lecture …

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