Thursday 23 February 2017

Bob Dylan: 75 years of total misunderstandings

Declan Lynch

Declan Lynch

Cartoon by Jim Cogan
Cartoon by Jim Cogan

They used to say that Bob Dylan wasn't as good as Keats or Shelley. Some academic would embark on a 'study' which would take the lyrics of Bob Dylan songs and place them alongside the works of the great poets, proving beyond any reasonable doubt that the little man from Minnesota wasn't really up there with the giants of the game.

This would then be reported in the papers, as if some higher authority had now spoken, and the matter could be laid to rest - Dylan was just putting out a slightly superior brand of 'pop' music, and if his words could be called poetry at all, they were inherently inferior to anything which might be taught in a university.

Now that Dylan has just turned 75, and they're talking about dedicating whole departments of universities to the study of his ouevre, we are starting to get some sense of the magnitude of all that bourgeois foolishness.

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