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“The coolest class on campus” – The New York Times When the Nobel Prize for Literature was awarded to Bob Dylan in 2016, a debate raged. Some celebrated, while many others questioned the choice. How could the world’s most prestigious book prize be awarded to a famously cantankerous singer-songwriter who wouldn’t even deign to attend the medal ceremony? In Why Bob Dylan Matters, Harvard Professor Richard F. Thomas answers this question with magisterial erudition. A world expert on Classical poetry, Thomas was initially ridiculed by his colleagues for teaching a course on Bob Dylan alongside his traditional seminars on Homer, Virgil, and Ovid. Dylan’s Nobel Prize brought him vindication, and he immediately found himself thrust into the spotlight as a leading academic voice in all matters Dylanological. Today, through his wildly popular Dylan seminar—affectionately dubbed "Dylan 101"—Thomas is introducing a new generation of fans and scholars to the revered bard’s work. This witty, personal volume is a distillation of Thomas’s famous course, and makes a compelling case for moving Dylan out of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and into the pantheon of Classical poets. Asking us to reflect on the question, "What makes a classic?", Thomas offers an eloquent argument for Dylan’s modern relevance, while interpreting and decoding Dylan’s lyrics for readers. The most original and compelling volume on Dylan in decades, Why Bob Dylan Matters will illuminate Dylan’s work for the Dylan neophyte and the seasoned fanatic alike. You’ll never think about Bob Dylan in the same way again.
“The coolest class on campus” – The New York Times When the Nobel Prize for Literature was awarded to Bob Dylan in 2016, a debate raged. Some celebrated, while many others questioned the choice. How could the world’s most prestigious book prize be awarded to a famously cantankerous singer-songwriter who wouldn’t even deign to attend the medal ceremony? In Why Bob Dylan Matters, Harvard Professor Richard F. Thomas answers this question with magisterial erudition. A world expert on Classical poetry, Thomas was initially ridiculed by his colleagues for teaching a course on Bob Dylan alongside his traditional seminars on Homer, Virgil, and Ovid. Dylan’s Nobel Prize brought him vindication, and he immediately found himself thrust into the spotlight as a leading academic voice in all matters Dylanological. Today, through his wildly popular Dylan seminar—affectionately dubbed "Dylan 101"—Thomas is introducing a new generation of fans and scholars to the revered bard’s work. This witty, personal volume is a distillation of Thomas’s famous course, and makes a compelling case for moving Dylan out of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and into the pantheon of Classical poets. Asking us to reflect on the question, "What makes a classic?", Thomas offers an eloquent argument for Dylan’s modern relevance, while interpreting and decoding Dylan’s lyrics for readers. The most original and compelling volume on Dylan in decades, Why Bob Dylan Matters will illuminate Dylan’s work for the Dylan neophyte and the seasoned fanatic alike. You’ll never think about Bob Dylan in the same way again.
A GUARDIAN AND INDEPENDENT BEST MUSIC BOOK OF 2017. ‘At last an expert classicist gets to grips with Bob Dylan’ Mary Beard ‘Thomas’s elegant, charming book offers something for everyone – not just the super-fans’ Independent
This study of Bob Dylan’s art explores the distinctive ways he brings words and music to life on recordings, onstage, and onscreen. Dylan’s body of work to date is situated in terms of the influences that have shaped his performances and the ways these performances have shaped contemporary popular music.
This book examines the cultural criticism led by New York intellectuals from the 1960s onwards, considering the influence of such critique on American collective memory and contemporary public culture. With a focus on essays that appeared in Dissent magazine—one of the most important journals of the New York intellectuals—from the year of its launch in 1954 to its most recent issue, as well as representative books on American culture by Daniel Bell and Russell Jacoby, the author contends that post-Sixties narratives constitute a special paradigm of cultural criticism that seek radical possibilities for societal change in the US, based on a use of the 1960s as an index for understanding American cultural and political life. A study of the ways in which narratives can move beyond story-telling to have interpretative and ideological functions as a form of criticism, this book will appeal to scholars of cultural studies and sociology, as well as those working in the fields of linguistics and literary theory.
Virgil's Georgics, the most neglected of the poet's three major works, is brought to life and infused with fresh meanings in this dynamic collection of new readings. The Georgics is shown to be a rich field of inherited and varied literary forms, actively inviting a wide range of interpretations as well as deep reflection on its place within the tradition of didactic poetry. The essays contained in this volume – contributed by scholars from Australia, Europe and North America – offer new approaches and interpretive methods that greatly enhance our understanding of Virgil's poem. In the process, they unearth an array of literary and philosophical sources which exerted a rich influence on the Georgics but whose impact has hitherto been underestimated in scholarship. A second goal of the volume is to examine how the Georgics – with its profound meditations on humankind, nature, and the socio-political world of its creation – has been (re)interpreted and appropriated by readers and critics from antiquity to the modern era. The volume opens up a number of exciting new research avenues for the study of the reception of the Georgics by highlighting the myriad ways in which the poem has been understood by ancient readers, early modern poets, explorers of the 'New World', and female translators of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
This volume comprises a series of studies focusing on the Latin poetry of the first and second centuries BCE, its relationship to earlier models both Greek and Latin, and its reception by later writers. A point of particular focus is the influence of Greek poetry, including not only Hellenistic writers like Callimachus, Theocritus, and Lycophron, but also archaic poets like Pindar and Bacchylides. The volume also includes studies of style, as well as treatments of the influence of Latin poetry on writers like Marvell and Dylan. Contributers include J. N. Adams, Barbara Weiden Boyd, Brian Breed, Sergio Casali, Julia Hejduk, Peter Knox, Leah Kronenburg, Charles Martindale, Charles McNelis, James O’Hara, Thomas Palaima, Hayden Pelliccia, David Petrain, David Ross, and Alexander Sens.

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