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Academic homage to Bob Dylan

A group of academics and poets will pay homage to the ‘complex and compelling’ work of the ‘Picasso of Song’, Bob Dylan, in a new publication released today (Thursday 7th November).

“‘Do You, Mr Jones?’ Bob Dylan with the Poets and Professors”, by Professor Neil Corcoran of the University of St Andrews, is a collection of fourteen specially- commissioned critical essays on Dylan’s work.

‘Leonard Cohen rightly called Bob Dylan the “Picasso of song”‘, said Professor Corcoran.

‘Dylan is an extraordinary lyricist, with a variety of styles, modes, and procedures that makes his work as complex and compelling as that of gifted poets of the printed page. It also rewards the same kind of critical study’, he said.

It is the first time that a collection of such essays has been commissioned, and combines multi- faceted critical responses from academics including Professor Corcoran’s colleague, Professor Nicholas Roe; Professor Aidan Day and poets Paul Muldoon, Lavinia Greenlaw, and Simon Armitage.

While acknowledging that Dylan prefers to see himself as a ‘trapeze artist’ rather than a poet, the book suggests that his apparent anti-intellectualism itself belongs to an American intellectual tradition that includes Emerson, Whitman, and Ginsberg. The spelling of his adopted stage name ‘Dylan’ (his birth name was Robert Zimmerman) has been said to be in homage to Dylan Thomas, and Dylan’s work is influenced by the poetry of, among others, Allen Ginsberg, T.S. Eliot, and Arthur Rimbaud.

Topics examined in the critical essays include Dylan’s humour – ‘the riffing mind at work’; his names; his literal and spiritual journeys; his uncompromising honesty; and the ‘last words’ of his songs. Approaches range from the highly personal and autobiographical to the comparative and analytical – exploring both what Dylan has meant intellectually and artistically to individuals and to his times.

Professor Corcoran, of the University’s School of English, is the author of critically-acclaimed books on Irish literature, particularly ‘The Poetry of Seamus Heaney’, and has been fascinated by Dylan’s work for forty years.

‘One of Dylan’s most remarkable qualities is his persistent metamorphosis. He never stops experimenting and evolving new styles and manners. That “never- ending journey” of artistic redefinition, like his perennial tour of the same name, commands huge respect and stimulates debate. I hope the book reflects that by being rigorous and challenging, serious but deeply appreciative,’ he said.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS:

PROFESSOR NEIL CORCORAN IS AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW TODAY ON 0207 485 6071. AFTER MONDAY 11TH NOVEMBER, HE WILL BE AVAILABLE IN ST ANDREWS ON 01334 462682.

COPIES OF THE BOOK “‘DO YOU, MR JONES?’ BOB DYLAN WITH THE POETS AND PROFESSORS”, BY PROFESSOR NEIL CORCORAN, ARE AVAILABLE – PLEASE CALL PATRICK HARGADON AT CHATTO AND WINDUS ON 0207 840 8540.

Issued by Beattie Media On behalf of the University of St Andrews Contact Gayle Cook on 01334 467227, mobile 07900 050103, or email gec3@st-andrews.ac.uk Ref: Bob Dylan book pr 071102 View the latest University news at http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk

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