Bob Dylan and Philosophy: It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Thinking)

By Peter Vernezze; Carl J. Porter | Go to book overview

other parts of our nature, that dominates here, and we make no apologies (though, in case you feel like it, now is the time for your tears).

After reading these essays, we hope you'll concur with us that something is happening here—and we think we know what it is. Universities have taught courses on Dylan for quite some time. Yet with the publication of Christopher Ricks's magisterial study of Dylan's literary prowess, Dylan's Vision of Sin, a case is beginning to be made for a reassessment of Dylan's role in relation to the intellectual community some thirty-five years after he received an honorary doctorate from Princeton. We offer this book as another exhibit for the prosecution (or is it the defense?) of this case. Ricks has put to rest any debate over Dylan's status as poet. The only question left to consider is whether he is a poet of sufficient merit and intellectual heft to deserve a place, not merely on the list of great American performers, but among the pantheon of uniquely American minds alongside such notables as Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, Melville, Twain, Dickinson, Dubois, O'Neill, Kerouac, and Ginsberg. Like these icons, Dylan has explored the nature of reality—metaphysical, ethical, political, and religious reality—in a substantial body of work, he has communicated his vision of the world through a recognized artistic medium, and he has provoked his audience to thoughtful reflection about their lives and their connection to the universe—and has accomplished all of this in a distinctly American voice.

Can this really be the end? No, actually, it's just the beginning. So kick back, put on your favorite Dylan album, and get ready to learn a little about philosophy, and perhaps even a bit about Dylan.

-xi-

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