Published Jun 05, 2017Bob Dylan finally collected his Nobel Prize in Literature at the end of March, after acknowledging the honour with a rather tepid public response and mailing in an acceptance speech to the awards ceremony he didn't attend back in December. In order to meet the prize's requirements, Dylan submitted a prepared lecture by the April 1 deadline, and now the full recording has been released online.
The 27-minute lecture was captured to tape yesterday (June 4), and it hears Dylan reflecting on his artistic influences — from pivotal pieces of folk and rock'n'roll canon, to more literary-leaning foundations like The Odyssey, Moby Dick and All Quiet on the Western Front.
He wraps up by distinguishing a major difference between his music and classic literature, highlighting the connection between his songwriting and performance.
"Our songs are alive in the land of the living. But songs are unlike literature. They're meant to be sung, not read," he says. "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 return once again to Homer, who says, 'Sing in me, oh Muse, and through me tell the story.'"
Listen to the full recording of Dylan's Nobel Prize lecture below.