Just when you thought the brouhaha over his win had ended, Bob Dylan has been accused of allegedly plagiarizing his Nobel lecture from SparkNotes. The Telegraph reports that several quotes Dylan attributed to authors of classic novels do not appear in the works themselves, but in the relevant SparkNotes. Although this won't disqualify Dylan from keeping the Nobel Prize in Literature, it could, if true, prompt the Swedish Academy to demand that the folk singer-songwriter return the $900,000 monetary portion of the award. Here's why.
Bob Dylan did not attend the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony back in December, citing scheduling conflicts that no one in their right mind would hold against a person on the back side of 70. Even before the ceremony rolled around, however, Dylan's Nobel Prize win was mired in controversy. That the Swedish Academy chose the Highway 61 Revisited musician over a more traditional author stoked fears of a bad year for bookstores, and prompted some writers and readers to criticize the entire Nobel establishment.
Nobel laureates are not required to do anything in order to receive their awards. Laureates have remained laureates even after declining their awards, or — in a few rare instances — after death. However, each Nobel Prize winner must give a lecture within six months of the ceremony in order to receive the monetary portion of the prize.
Because Dylan's speech may have been plagiarized from SparkNotes, and because he waited until the last minute of his six-month grace period to submit said speech, the Swedish Academy could possibly determine the lecture ineligible. If that's the case, the singer-songwriter could theoretically find himself being asked to return the nearly $1 million cash prize.