The Swedish Academy has released the recording of Bob Dylan’s Nobel Lecture. Listen to Dylan trace the connections between his music and literature as well as discuss his inspirations: Buddy Holly and Leadbelly as well as Moby Dick, All Quiet on the Western Front and The Odyssey.
Described as “extraordinary and, as one might expect, eloquent,” the Swedish Academy released a recording and text of Bob Dylan’s speech, delivered as part of his acceptance of the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature.
By now, we all know the controversy surrounding the Swedish Academy naming Bob Dylan as the recipient of the prestigious award. First and foremost – Was Dylan worthy of this most high accolade? Do his lyrics even constitute literature? And then it took Bob a full two weeks to even acknowledge the fact that he had won the award. The Academy itself contacted Dylan on multiple occasions and hadn’t gotten a response. When he did finally address the issue, Dylan remained non-committal about whether he would actually attend the award ceremony: “Absolutely… If it’s at all possible.”
As for the question of his songs being works of literature, Dylan responded, “I’ll let other people decide what they are. The academics, they ought to know. I’m not really qualified. I don’t have any opinion.”
As it was, Dylan did not attend the ceremony, held December 10 in Stockholm. Instead, Patti Smith sang Dylan’s 1963 epic, “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall.” He also provided a thank-you speech that was delivered at the Nobel Banquet by the former U.S. ambassador to Sweden, Ms. Azita Raji. In April, Bob Dylan met in Stockholm with the members of the Academy who presented him with the gold medal and the diploma.