Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Dylan's literary context

I’ve been catching up with the writers documenting instances of Dylan writing which is similar to that of earlier work by other writers.

Readers will be familiar with the well-documented similarities of phrases on Modern Times with Henry Timrod’s writing, and of “Love And Theft" fragments with Japanese writer Junichi Saga’s Confessions of a Yakuza, but many might not have seen the work of zealous scholars scrutinising Chronicles.

Writers whose prose, it’s alleged, find echoes in Chronicles are: Marcel Proust, Mark Twain, Mezz Mezzrow, Jack London, RL Stevenson, Henry Rollins, Hemingway and Pynchon.

Dylan fans and literati alike differ in their reactions to these textual similarities. My own instinct is that they add a new dimension to Dylan’s rich art, placing it ever more firmly in high culture, but that I need to delve far more deeply.

Fascinating stuff…

The literary detectives studying these textual similarities include Edward Cook and Scott Warmuth, mainly on Cook’s blog, Ralph the Sacred River (especially September 2006 and August 2009):

Gerry Smith