Though Bob Dylan formally accepted his Nobel Prize for Literature while in Sweden back in April (wearing a black hoodie, no less), he was still required to give a lecture in order to collect the 8 million kroner ($900,000) in prize money. Over the weekend, he finally delivered his lecture in the form of a 30-minute recording wherein he traces how various musicians and pieces of literature inspired his own songwriting. He specifically cites Buddy Holly, who Dylan saw in concert shortly before his death, as well as classic novels Moby Dick, All Quiet on the Western Front, and The Odyssey. As he speaks, a subdued piano plays in the background.
“Our songs are alive in the land of the living. But songs are unlike literature. They’re meant to be sung, not read,” Dylan says to conclude his lecture. “The words in Shakespeare’s plays were meant to be acted on the stage. Just as lyrics in songs are meant to be sung, not read on a page. And I hope some of you get the chance to listen to these lyrics the way they were intended to be heard: in concert or on record or however people are listening to songs these days. I return once again to Homer, who says, ‘Sing in me, oh Muse, and through me tell the story.'”
Listen to Dylan’s full lecture below.