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the pioneer of Dylan Studies; writer, public speaker, critic; became a Doctor of Letters in 2015 (awarded by the University of York, UK)

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Monday, July 09, 2007


I see that we can now read online - courtesy of the journal Oral Tradition (published by the University of Missouri-Columbia) - the contributions of various scholars and others to the colloquium "Bob Dylan's Performance Artistry" held in 2005 at the Université de Caen-Basse Normandie. This is the link.

I'm told by Todd Harvey, author of that fine and refreshing book The Formative Dylan (2001), that Oral Tradition is one of the first established academic journals to become an entirely online publication. It was founded in 1986 to provide an international and interdisciplinary forum for discussing worldwide oral traditions and related forms.

The issue on "Bob Dylan's Performance Artistry" includes Harvey's interesting article 'Never Quite Sung in this Fashion Before: Bob Dylan's 'Man of Constant Sorrow'', as well as, among much else, Gordon Ball's 'Dylan & the Nobel', Richard Thomas' 'The Streets of Rome: The Classical Dylan' (written and delivered before the emergence of Modern Times, of course), and Catherine Mason's very acute and fascinating look at Dylan's use of McTell's work in particular, '"The Low Hum in Syllables and Meters": Blues Poetics in Bob Dylan's Verbal Art'.

As noted in the Bob Dylan Encyclopedia entry on Todd Harvey, he was born the day Bob Dylan finished recording Bringing It All Back Home.


Anonymous Ernie Pancsofar said...

Thanks for the link to Oral Traditiion. I'm off on a 10 day vacation and this will make for great reading. In my progress on The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia, I am up to the Rimbaud entry reading each and every entry along the way. The trouble is I get sidetracked by linking to the sites or listening to new works that have escaped me over the years. My recent downloads for my iPod include Mance Lipsomb, Blind Willie McTell, Charlie Patton among others. Thank you for broadening my music log. I listen to Dylan and/or connected Dylan artists an average of 90 minutes a day, mostly while walking or on my commute to and from work. Keep up the great work!

2:10 pm  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

Thank you. You're most welcome.

4:15 pm  
Anonymous Richard Thomas said...

Hi, Michael.
Thanks for putting up Oral Tradition. I was actually able to get the Ovid material from Modern Times, or most of it, into my piece on Dylan and the Classics.

Fond memories of the Minnesota Symposium. Best, Richard

11:15 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Gray, have you done any work regarding the technical aspects of Dylan's writing? I'm much more interested in his use of meter, alliteration, phrasing, etc. than anything else right now, and I'm having a hard time finding any books or even articles on his writing, other than how good it is.



4:16 am  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

Dear John
I can only say that there's a fair amount of attention paid to these "technical aspects of Dylan's writing" in my book Song & Dance Man III: The Art of Bob Dylan (Continuum, 2000): a study of Dylan's work that tries to avoid Interpretation (i.e. what Dylan "means") but to offer Criticism (i.e. to pay close attention to how Dylan's work achieves the effects it does: an approach that involves close scrutiny of the text, including of its metres, rhyme schemes and all). The book is over 500,000 words, so there is plenty of it...

1:14 pm  

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