Bob Dylan Delivers 'Eloquent' Nobel Prize Lecture

The musician's speech reflects on music's ties to literature
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 5, 2017 5:40 PM CDT

Bob Dylan has completed his Nobel course requirements. The Swedish Academy announced Monday that it has received the mandatory lecture from the 2016 literature winner, enabling Dylan to collect $922,000 in prize money, reports the AP. Spokeswoman Sara Danius described Dylan's talk in a news release as "extraordinary" and "eloquent." Nobel Prize officials said the 26-minute talk was recorded on Sunday in Los Angeles and an audio clip is posted on the academy's website (it can also be found on YouTube). Danius said its delivery to the academy meant that "the Dylan adventure is coming to a close." The songwriter took weeks to publicly acknowledge even winning the prize, announced in October and greeted with both joy and dismay that a rock star had received an honor previously given to William Faulkner, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Alice Munro among others.

According to the LA Times, the musician opened the talk by saying, "When I received the Nobel Prize for literature, I got to wondering exactly how my songs related to literature. I wanted to reflect on it, and see where the connection was." Dylan said that folk songs were his earliest musical vocabulary, but that books such as Ivanhoe and Don Quixote helped shape his view of the world and inspire him to write songs "unlike anything anybody had ever heard." From the start, he believed in absorbing classical texts and the vernacular of the day. He discussed three works at length: Moby Dick, All Quiet On the Western Front, and The Odyssey, and concluded by noting that Shakespeare's words were meant to be spoken, "just as lyrics in songs are meant to be sung, not read on a page." (More Bob Dylan stories.)

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