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Bob Dylan Faces Plagiarism Accusations…Again

By Harriet Staff

Bob Dylan

Uh oh… Ben Sisario of the New York Times is following up on Slate’s Tuesday claim that Bob Dylan plagiarized sections of his Nobel lecture. To be honest, as Sisario notes, this isn’t the first time. Even fellow folk-singer Joni Mitchell has called Dylan’s bluff before. “Perhaps it was just a matter of time,” he writes. “Bob Dylan makes a major artistic statement, and eagle-eyed students of his work soon find evidence that he had “borrowed” — or, to be less kind, plagiarized — significant parts of it.” On, from there:

It has come up in song lyrics and in passages from Mr. Dylan’s memoir, “Chronicles: Volume One.” The sources have included the work of a Japanese doctor and a Confederate poet, and fed an unending debate about whether Mr. Dylan is a Rauschenberg-esque master of pastiche or simply a thief. The stakes for Mr. Dylan’s reputation are even higher now that he has been elevated to a Nobel laureate.

The latest allegation, in fact, is related to Mr. Dylan’s Nobel lecture, which he delivered in a recording last week as a requirement of accepting last year’s Nobel Prize in Literature. In the speech, Mr. Dylan recounted how he is influenced by Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick,” Erich Maria Remarque’s “All Quiet on the Western Front” and Homer’s “The Odyssey” — the kinds of well-worn classics that most students encounter in school, and may consult a study guide to help understand.

A Slate article on Tuesday accused Mr. Dylan of doing what schoolchildren get scolded for every day: cribbing lines from that study guide and passing it off as his own work. The author, Andrea Pitzer, combed through Mr. Dylan’s 4,000-word speech and, in the case of his 78 sentences of commentary on “Moby-Dick,” found at least 20 examples in which phrases from his text closely resemble lines in a SparkNotes online guide to the novel.

Read more at New York Times.

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Posted in Poetry News on Monday, June 19th, 2017 by Harriet Staff.