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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, September 28, 2009


This is an amended, updated version of the blog posted a couple of hours ago...

An interesting teacher called John Clark is holding a series of classes on Dylan's work ("Bob Dylan Revisited") for the Center for Lifelong Learning at Emory University, Atlanta - and for the first of these, two weeks tonight (ie. on Wednesday 12th October), I have been invited to come along and join in the discussion. It's not free to attend, and people can't just attend one session: they must sign up for the whole course - but anyone can enrol.

The class meets from 7 to 9pm. The building and room number on Emory's campus is still undetermined.

The plan for that first week is to talk about Dylan's political roots in Guthrie/Seeger/Almanac Singers, his prophetic posture and eventual distancing of himself from Seeger and the liberal agenda. And to touch briefly on the connection between the cover songs on Dylan's very first album, his exposure to Harry Smith's albums and the Lomax archives, the cover songs on the more recent World Gone Wrong and Good As I Been to You, and the way he seems to be reaching back to those old sources again on his more recent albums (e.g. Sugar Baby).

I'm not sure what the other weeks will cover, except that Week 3 (of 5) will cover Blood on the Tracks, Desire and Street Legal, plus video selections from Renaldo and Clara.

I'll be in the middle of my tour of talks about Hand Me My Travelin' Shoes: In Search of Blind Willie McTell when this course starts, but I'm happy to be able to take part in a Dylan event while I'm there.*

John Clark splits his work week between teaching high school and working on the support staff at DeKalb Technical College. He lives with his cat and wife, with the latter of whom he co-teaches another Evening at Emory course called the Meeting of the Minds. He has a Masters in Theology and has done graduate work in Popular Culture Studies. He is an avid moviegoer.

More information about the Emory University course here.

*I'm also giving the very last Bob Dylan & the Poetry of the Blues talk while I'm there, at Georgia Southern University, on October 22, 7pm. (The last UK one, at Sedbergh Book Festival last Friday, gave me a lovely venue and a very warm audience: a gratifying one to finish on.)


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