Bob Dylan Talks Literature, Songwriting, and ‘Folk Lingo’ in His Nobel Prize Lecture


Here we have it: The final chapter in the saga that is Bob Dylan accepting his Nobel Prize and providing the required speech. After the brouhaha surrounding his acceptance (he eventually accepted the award in a private ceremony attended by a few members of the Swedish Academy and one member of his personal staff), the musician has delivered his Nobel lecture, which is necessary to receive his prize money. In the lecture, Dylan opens with an appreciation of Buddy Holly and folk music before moving on to pore over some of his favorite grade-school texts: Moby Dick, All Quiet on the Western Front, and The Odyssey, simultaneously summarizing and analyzing the themes in each and how they connect to his own songwriting. As for what it all means? That’s up to you. “If a song moves you, that’s all that’s important. I don’t have to know what a song means,” he concludes. “I’ve written all kinds of things into my songs, and I’m not going to worry about it, what it all means.” Take that prize money and run, Bob.

Listen to Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize Lecture