A few days ago, the Nobel Prize YouTube Channel posted Bob Dylan’s lecture, which was a requirement for any recipient of the award. In 2016, he had been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, to the surprise of many.
The speech is typical Dylan – intelligent and very funny in a rather subtle way. He begins by describing his own birth as a musician through his musical idols, and then moves into literature, talking about three books: Moby Dick, All Quiet on the Western Front, and The Odyssey. He describes each story and then relates their themes briefly to his own work. Finally, in a very Dylaneque conclusion, he announces that maybe everything is just nothing and we’re all reading into art to find what isn’t there.
There was, sadly, no mention of his Beat literary influences. Dylan was a friend of Allen Ginsberg‘s and said of Jack Kerouac, “I read On the Road in maybe 1959. It changed my life like it changed everyone else’s.”
Read more about Bob Dylan and the Beat Generation.