Los Angeles: The whiff of plagiarism is blowin’ in the wind for Bob Dylan. Phrases sprinkled throughout the rock legend’s lecture for his Nobel Prize in literature are very similar to phrases from the summation of Moby Dick on SparkNotes, a sort of online “Cliff’s Notes” that’s familiar to modern students looking for shortcuts and teachers trying to catch them.
The saga began when writer Ben Greenman pointed out on his blog on June 6 that Dylan appeared to have invented a quote from Moby Dick, which Dylan discussed in the lecture along with Buddy Holly, The Odyssey and All Quiet on the Western Front.
Then Andrea Pitzer, a writer for Slate, delved into the supposed quote and wrote in a story on 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 went on to find 20 other sentences with traces and phrases from the Moby Dick SparkNotes. She cites no examples in Dylan’s discussion of the other two books. The cases Pitzer found are not blatant or explicit — there are no verbatim sentences, only identical phrases.
Dylan and spokesmen for SparkNotes and the Swedish Academy which hands out the Nobel weren’t immediately available for comment.
This is no the first time the singer has been accused of plagiarism. He has previously been accused of lifting lines from older artists for his songs in the past.