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Author Admits to Fabricating Bob Dylan Quotes

Bob Dylan
Christopher Polk, Getty Images

A major scandal has broken out in journalism today (July 30), and rock legend Bob Dylan has been unwittingly caught in the middle. In his new book, ‘Imagine: How Creativity Works,’ New Yorker journalist Jonah Lehrer attributed a quote to Bob Dylan that rock’s poet laureate never said.

The truth was unveiled by Michael C. Moynihan of Tablet, who read Lehrer’s book and, as a Dylan fan, went searching for the full context of Dylan’s quotes, which were not footnoted in the book. When unable to find several of the sources, he contacted Lehrer directly. After three weeks of conversation, Lehrer confessed that he had made them up.

This afternoon, Lehrer resigned from the New Yorker and issued the following statement:

Three weeks ago, I received an email from journalist Michael Moynihan asking about Bob Dylan quotes in my book ‘Imagine,’ The quotes in question either did not exist, were unintentional misquotations, or represented improper combinations of previously existing quotes. But I told Mr. Moynihan that they were from archival interview footage provided to me by Dylan’s representatives. This was a lie spoken in a moment of panic. When Mr. Moynihan followed up, I continued to lie, and say things I should not have said.

The lies are over now. I understand the gravity of my position. I want to apologize to everyone I have let down, especially my editors and readers. I also owe a sincere apology to Mr. Moynihan. I will do my best to correct the record and ensure that my misquotations and mistakes are fixed. I have resigned my position as staff writer at The New Yorker.

‘Imagine: How Creativity Works’ looks at how creative genius can be explained through neuroscience. To date it has sold 200,000 copies. In the wake of the scandal, its publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, is stopping shipment of future copies and removing the e-book from the market.

Next: Bob Dylan's Best Recent Songs

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