An unmissable talk with Harvard Classics Professor, Richard F. Thomas on Why Dylan Matters.
In 2016 Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize… for Literature. Everyone was happy – except some in the literary world, which was confused and divided. The word in Stockholm was that Dylan had given‘new poetic expression to the great American song tradition’. But is it poetry, or is it poetry by special pleading?
We love Dylan: his ups and downs, his capacity to make it simple, to say it straight. We love him also for being an enigma, a shape-shifting ‘Jewish Amerindian White Negro’ who speaks in tongues. Either way, his words have echoed in our minds – more intimately, more provokingly – than those of any other song-writer.
But writing about Dylan, as against listening to him, is not easy. So do we really need to hear from the Professors, whose interest in Dylan has been considerable, if unreciprocated? Do his songs need interpreting? Or are they consummately self-reliant and uncategorizable, changing our lives but giving us little to say?
In Why Dylan Matters, Harvard Professor Richard F. Thomas will answer these questions, and will show how much there is to say and why it needs saying: about a genius who came late enough in the tradition to freely plunder its storehouse – of American folk music, English ballads, minstrel songs, blues, the Bible, the Greek and Latin classics.
Join us for an evening exploring Dylan’s allusive and compound art of song, where words, music and voice make a unity and, mysteriously, create a community of past and present.