Iconic singer-songwriter Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature last October (see my post in the October archives), and now his acceptance speech has been released by the Nobel Foundation. In his talk, Dylan discusses his musical inspirations, namely Buddy Holly, but what's more interesting is his memories of great literature that taught him "a way of looking at life, an understanding of human nature, and a standard to measure things by." This is exactly what English teachers should be doing each day in class. He goes into detail about three of the most important works in all of literary history, Moby Dick, All Quiet on the Western Front, and The Odyssey. While Dylan never gives a clear answer as to how closely song lyrics should be equated with other literary forms, he deftly describes how language, theme, and narrative affect all of us all of the time. Take a listen, or if you'd rather read the lecture, check here.
Dr. Spivey is a college English professor and lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.