After much ado, Bob Dylan accepted his 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature this summer and gave a 27-minute, 4,097-word acceptance speech. To bring the literature aspect of it full circle, Dylan’s speech is now set to be released as a 32-page book via Simon & Schuster, in both a standard edition and a numbered edition, of which there will only be 100 copies selling for $2,500.
Dylan began his speech, which he gave on June 4 (and which may or may not been lifted partially from SparkNotes), by saying that he didn’t understand at first why he even won the award:
“When I first received this Nobel Prize for Literature, I got to wondering exactly how my songs related to literature. I wanted to reflect on it and see where the connection was. 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.”
He went on to talk about the impact of Buddy Holly, and to speak at length about classic literary works like Moby Dick, All Quiet On The Western Front, and The Odyssey. He concluded his speech by saying that “songs are unlike literature” because they’re “meant to be sung, not read”:
“Our songs are alive in the land of the living. But songs are unlike literature. They’re meant to be sung, not read. 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.'”