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Bob Dylan ponders literary links in ’extraordinary’ Nobel speech

Update: June, 06/2017 - 11:30
Bob Dylan has submitted his lecture for accepting the Nobel Literature Prize, in which he reflects on the links between his song’s lyrics and literature. — AFP Photo
Viet Nam News

STOCKHOLM — Music icon Bob Dylan has delivered his long-awaited Nobel lecture, citing Buddy Holly and The Odyssey among his inspirations, a relief for the Swedish Academy after it honoured the songwriter with its prestigious literature prize for the first time.

"The speech is extraordinary and, as one might expect, eloquent. Now that the lecture has been delivered, the Dylan adventure is coming to a close," Sara Danius, the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, which awards the prize, wrote in a blog post on Monday.

The Academy, which stunned observers in October when it announced Dylan as the winner, had to wait for more than two weeks before hearing Dylan’s reaction to winning the award. He later declined to attend the December ceremony because of "pre-existing commitments".

In the speech, sent to the Academy with an audio link in which Dylan reads it aloud, the enigmatic rock star reflects on the possible links between his lyrics and literature.

"When I first received this Nobel Prize for Literature, I got to wondering exactly how my songs related to literature," Dylan said.

He then cited musicians who inspired him — including Buddy Holly, whose music "changed my life" and made him want to write songs when he was a teenager — and the classic novels that made a big impression, including Moby Dick, All Quiet on the Western Front and The Odyssey.

Referring to the main character Odysseus, the writer of Blowin’ In The Wind said in the speech: "He’s tossed and turned by the winds. Restless winds, chilly winds, unfriendly winds. He travels far, and then he gets blown back."

Dylan had until June 10 to submit the lecture, the only requirement to claim the eight million kronor (US$923,000) that comes with the prize.

The lecture can take nearly any form, including a short speech, a performance, a video broadcast or even a song, and must be held within six months of December 10, the date of the Nobel prize ceremony and the anniversary of the death of the prize’s founder Alfred Nobel. — AFP



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