There are real similarities between the icon's speech and the popular cliff notes for the classic Herman Melville novel.
Slate has published a report offering surprisingly compelling evidence that Bob Dylan referenced and outright quoted passages from the Spark Notes for Moby Dick in his recent literature-focused Nobel Prize Lecture without citation.
One might think that Dylan’s general, freeform explanations of many of the main characters and boilerplate themes of Herman Melville’s novel could just coincidentally overlap with Spark Notes’ simply-worded, overarching summaries. However, as Slate shows, there are specific similarities in the language used by Dylan and Spark Notes, using phrases that are not included in the novel, that seem much to close to be coincidental, especially considering that the lecture came from the collage-and-quotation king of rock music.
One notable example of this comes when comparing a passage from Spark Notes’ broad-stroke “Summary” of Meville’s plot to Dylan’s text.