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Bob Dylan: Poet of Disruption, Dissonance and an Aesthetic of Dissent

Shobana Mathews

Christ University, Bangalore. ORCID 0000-0001-9700-9420.

Email: shobhana.p.mathews@christuniversity.in

Volume 9, Number 1, 2017 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v9n1.s03

Received February 27, 2017; Revised on June 10, Accepted June 12, 2017; Published June 15, 2017.

Abstract

This paper is a brief study of the pivotal figure of folk rock, Bob Dylan. Acclaimed as a songwriter and singer, he was also the poetic voice of the counter culture of the nineteen sixties in America. The counter culture sought to unseat the mainstream establishment that seemed obsessed with war, conservative ideals and religious nationalism. Dylan burst onto this scene ‘already a legend’ and ‘the unwashed phenomenon’ (Baez, 1975) projecting the image of the original vagabond and troubadour. A glance at a selection of some of his best known lyrics disabuses one of the notions of his being uninitiated into the discourse of philosophy and literature. He draws freely on and engages with ideas from texts that are sometimes even obscure. The Nobel he was awarded in October 2016 recognized his art for evolving new modes of poetic expression. This paper studies Dylan, the performer and the writer who has masterfully disrupted  most accepted  literary modes using the dissonance-rich space of Rock music while retaining some of the traditional forms of poetic utterance.

Keywords: Dissonance, disruption, aesthetic of dissent, folk song, protest, rock and roll, Bob Dylan

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