Bob Dylan's Nobel lecture, released on Monday by the Nobel Foundation, not only fulfilled a requirement for prize winners but also gave the musician an opportunity to answer critics who said he was miscast for the prize on literature.
The Swedish Academy was criticized after it awarded Dylan the Nobel Prize in literature last year, charging that a musician should not be in the running for the award, said the Washington Post. Dylan sought to answer some of those critics in his lecture.
"When I first received this Nobel Prize for literature, I got to wondering exactly how my songs related to literature," Dylan said, per the Post. " … I'm going to try to articulate that to you. And most likely it will go in a roundabout way, but I hope what I say will be worthwhile and purposeful."
Dylan talked about his early influences, such as Buddy Holly, who died in a plane crash in 1959, and late folks and blues icon Leadbelly.
"I think it was a day or two after that that (Holly's) plane went down. And somebody — somebody I'd never seen before — handed me a Leadbelly record with the song 'Cotton Fields' on it," Dylan said, per the Post.
"And that record changed my life right then and there. Transported me into a world I'd never known. It was like an explosion went off. Like I'd been walking in darkness and all of the sudden the darkness was illuminated. It was like somebody laid hands on me. I must have played that record a hundred times," Dylan continued.
The lectures are normally given at the Nobel Prize ceremony but Dylan skipped the event in December, noted CNN.
"The speech is extraordinary and, as one might expect, eloquent," Sara Danius, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, said on its blog Monday. "Now that the lecture has been delivered, the Dylan adventure is coming to a close.”
"… In April, the members of the Academy met with Bob Dylan in Stockholm to present him with the gold medal and the diploma. Now, the Academy is pleased to acknowledge the receipt of the Nobel Lecture. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Bob Dylan and his staff, especially Jeff Rosen, for having cooperated so beautifully."
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