Croak, choke and groan about Dylan

Central Station | 16 Jun 2017

Rock king Bob Dylan, pictured, is charged with plagiarizing much of his Nobel Prize lecture from SparkNotes, an online study guide for students.

Dylan, 76, surprise winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, last week delivered a lecture before collecting the eight-million-kroner (HK$7.1 million) prize.

Author Andrea Pitzer found striking similarities between Dylan's quotations about Herman Melville's novel Moby- Dick and the SparkNotes version.

Dylan, for example, quotes Melville as calling elusive whale Moby "the embodiment of evil." But Pitzer points out the phrase does not appear in the novel but does in the SparkNotes synopsis. At least 20 references in Dylan's lecture about Moby-Dick bear some similarity to the SparkNotes version.

Dylan is unabashed about putting other people's work in his songs, Pitzer says, and "tracing his sourcing has become a cottage industry."

In literature, plagiarism claims ruin or dent reputations. But Nobel judges gave Dylan the prize "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition."

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