The Swedish Academy awarded Dylan the prize last fall. However, the musician completely ignored the notice for two whole weeks. After that, he declined to attend the awards ceremony. Needless to say, he wasn’t off to a great start in this process.
Months later, he finally accepted the award in private. But to claim the roughly $900,000 cash prize that comes with the award, Dylan still needed to deliver a lecture. And the clock was ticking. He had to do it within six months of the official awards ceremony, which gave him a deadline of June 10, 2017.
But now the lecture is here, and it was definitely worth the wait. Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature, and in his speech he grapples with the idea of song lyrics being considered literature at all.
“Songs are unlike literature,” he said. “They’re meant to be sung, not read.”
However, he also adds that the original founder of Western literature was a lyricist as well. “I return once again to Homer,” Dylan said, “who says, ‘Sing in me, oh Muse, and through me tell the story.’”
We could explain how wonderful Bob Dylan’s speech is, but it is best if you just check it out yourself. If you need more persuading, here’s what Sara Danius, the Swedish Academy’s secretary, had to say: “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.”
Watch Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize lecture here: