Published June 14, 2017
Bob Dylan has been accused of lifting portions of his Nobel Prize lecture from SparkNotes.
Dylan discussed three books that had the biggest impact on his life including Herman Melville's "Moby Dick." He quoted a passage from the novel – the only problem is the passage does not appear in Melville’s book -- but it does in SparkNotes.
SparkNotes is a website that offers students looking for shortcuts on major works of literature among other topics.
Writer Ben Greenman first called attention to Dylan's lecture writing in a June 6 blog post that Dylan seemed to have invented a passage from "Moby Dick." He also discussed "The Odyssey" and "All Quiet on the Western Front."
Then Slate writer Andrea Pitzer delved into the supposed quote and wrote in a story Tuesday that the line was not in "Moby Dick" but was very much like a line from the Sparknotes summary of the book.
Here's Dylan: "Some men who receive injuries are led to God, others are led to bitterness"
And Sparknotes: "someone whose trials have led him toward God rather than bitterness."
Pitzer and The Associated Press verified 20 other sentences with traces and phrases from the "Moby Dick" Sparknotes.
The cases Pitzer found are not blatant or explicit — there are no verbatim sentences, only identical phrases and similar phrasing.
— Dylan: "Moby attacks one more time, ramming the Pequod and sinking it. Ahab gets tangled up in the harpoon lines and is thrown out of his boat into a watery grave."
— Sparknotes: "Moby Dick rams the Pequod and sinks it. Ahab is then caught in a harpoon line and hurled out of his harpoon boat to his death."
— Dylan: "The ship's crew is made up of men of different races."
— Sparknotes: "...a crew made up of men from many different countries and races."
A rep for Dylan did not return Fox News' request for comment.
Dylan has been accused of lifting lines from older artists for his songs in the past, though many fans dismiss it as simply reflecting the common borrowing of the folk-and-blues milieus he drew from.
Dylan recorded the 26-minute lecture in Los Angeles and provided it to the Swedish Academy, which called it "extraordinary" and "eloquent" in a news release on June 5. The lecture is required for the winner to collect the 8 million Swedish kronor ($922,000) in prize money.
Dylan was awarded the prize in October, bringing some controversy that an award reserved for top-flight novelists and poets had gone to a rock star. He took weeks to publicly acknowledge winning the prize, did not attend December's Nobel ceremony in Stockholm, and left many wondering whether he would ever provide the traditional lecture.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.