And Finally Artist News Awards

Bob Dylan finally delivers Nobel Prize lecture

By | Published on Tuesday 6 June 2017

Bob Dylan

They said it wouldn’t happen. They said it couldn’t happen. Some even said it shouldn’t happen. But it has happened, people. Bob Dylan has submitted his Nobel Prize lecture. Turns out, not even the grumpiest of curmudgeons can face harrumphing their way out of the best part of a million dollars.

As previously reported, Dylan was named the winner of the Nobel Prize In Literature last year. After he eventually acknowledged the award, he then refused to come to Sweden to collect it, eventually doing so in semi secret in April. But there was still the matter of the lecture required in order to receive his prize money. He had until 10 Jun to get on with that, and was clearly in no rush to do so.

But now he’s done it. He’s only gone and bloody done it. Written down and in audio form! Nice try getting double prize money, but I don’t think that’s how it works. In the speech, Dylan ponders how his songs are even related to literature, answering the question of many a detractor when his award was originally announced.

“If I was to go back to the dawning of it all, I guess I’d have to start with Buddy Holly”, he begins, before going on to discuss his relationship with three books he read at school, ‘Moby Dick’, ‘All Quiet On The Western Front’ and ‘The Odyssey’.

Eventually he concludes: “Our songs are alive in the land of the living. But songs are unlike literature. They’re meant to be sung, not read. The words in Shakespeare’s plays were meant to be acted on the stage. Just as lyrics in songs are meant to be sung, not read on a page. And I hope some of you get the chance to listen to these lyrics the way they were intended to be heard: in concert or on record or however people are listening to songs these days”.

I think he might have technically talked himself out of the literature prize in the end there. But rules are rules, and he still gets his money. Read Bob’s full speech here, or listen to him read it out here: