Book pulled after rising star admits Dylan lies

A STAFF writer for The New Yorker has resigned and his latest book has been halted after he acknowledged inventing quotes by Bob Dylan.

Jonah Lehrer released a statement through his publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, that some Dylan quotes appearing in his book Imagine: How Creativity Works did "not exist".

Others were "unintentional misquotations, or represented improper combinations of previously existing quotes".

Lehrer said he acknowledged his actions after being contacted by Michael Moynihan of the online publication Tablet, which earlier released an in-depth story on the Dylan passages in Imagine.

"I told Mr Moynihan that they (the quotes in question) 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," Lehrer wrote in his statement.

"The lies are over now. I understand the gravity of my position. I want to apologise to everyone I have let down, especially my editors and readers."

Houghton Mifflin said in a statement that Lehrer had committed a "serious misuse".

Listings for the e-book edition of Ima-gine will be removed and shipments of the physical book have been stopped.

Imagine was published in March and had been selling well, ranking No.105 on Amazon.com on Monday, US time.

The 31-year-old Lehrer, once a rising star at The New Yorker, was already in trouble with the magazine after he acknowledged last month that he had recycled passages he had written for previous publications. Some recycled passages also appeared in Imagine, the latest of three books by Lehrer, who is known for his explorations of science and literature and how the mind works.

"This is a terrifically sad situation, but, in the end, what is most important is the integrity of what we publish and what we stand for," said New Yorker editor David Remnick.

Among Lehrer's inventions was a quote that first appeared in the famous documentary from the mid-1960s, "Don't Look Back," in which Dylan tells a reporter about his songs that "I just write them. There's no great message." In Imagine, Lehrer adds a third sentence - "Stop asking me to explain" - that does not appear in the film.

According to Tablet, Lehrer also invented quotes on how Dylan wrote "Like a Rolling Stone" and, when confronted about them, alleged that he had been granted access to an uncut version of "No Direction Home," a Dylan documentary made by Martin Scorsese. Lehrer now says he never saw such footage.

Dylan himself has been challenged about his use of material. His album Modern Times included lines lifted from blues songs and from the Civil War poet Henry Timrod. An exhibit of paintings by the rock star turned out to contain images from other sources.

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