Credit: William ClaxtonBob Dylan has been accused of plagiarism for years — of appropriating images from famous works of art for his paintings, lines from Humphrey Bogart movies, lines from poet Henry Timrod, lines from contemporary figures like Henry Rollins, and of course throughout his whole career he’s borrowed musical and lyrical material from folk and pop sources. But lifting SparkNotes wholesale for his Nobel Lecture? That’s the charge of writer Andrea Pitzer in Slate.

After writer Ben Greenman noticed that Dylan had invented a quote from Herman Melville‘s 1951 classic Moby-Dick in his Nobel Lecture, Pitzer looked for the source of the supposed quote and found surprisingly similar language in the SparkNotes website entry on Moby-Dick.

Pitzer goes on to catalogue almost two dozen instances in the lecture where Dylan’s Moby-Dick descriptions “closely resemble lines from the SparkNotes site” but “do not appear in the novel Moby-Dick at all.”

Some are pretty innocuous descriptions of facts, like saying Captain Ahab or his ship, the Pequod, “encounters other whaling vessels.” Sure they do in the book. Or noting that Ahab has as a “wife and child back in Nantucket.”

Others less so, like when Dylan says, “A Quaker pacifist priest, who is actually a bloodthirsty businessman, tells Flask, ‘Some men who receive injuries are led to God, others are led to bitterness” — the false quote that Greenman flagged — which Pitzer compares to two portions of the SparkNotes: “…a bloodthirstienss unusual for Quakers, or are normally pacifists” and “..someone whose trials have led him toward God rather than bitterness.” Neither the quote nor the word “pacifist” appear in Moby-Dick.

Pitzer reached out to Dylan’s label, Columbia, seeking comment from Dylan or his management but had not heard back.

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