Tearing the World ApartBob Dylan and the Twenty-First Century

Tearing the World ApartBob Dylan and the Twenty-First Century

Nina Goss and Eric Hoffman

Print publication date: 2019

ISBN: 9781496813329

Publisher: University Press of Mississippi

Abstract

Bob Dylan is many things to many people. Folk prodigy. Rock poet. Quiet gentleman. Dionysian impresario. Cotton Mather. Stage hog. Each of these Dylan creations comes with its own accessories, including a costume, a hairstyle, a voice, a lyrical register, a metaphysics, an audience, and a library of commentary. Each Bob Dylan joins a collective cast that has made up his persona for over fifty years. No version of Dylan turns out uncomplicated, but the postmillennial manifestation seems peculiarly contrary—a tireless and enterprising antiquarian; a creator of singular texts and sounds through promiscuous poaching; an artist of innovation and uncanny renewal. This is a Dylan of persistent surrender from an engagement with a world he perceives as broken and enduring, addressing us from a past that is lost and yet forever present. This book participates in the creation of the postmillennial Bob Dylan by exploring three central records of the twenty-first century along with the 2003 film Masked and Anonymous, which Dylan helped write and in which he appears as an actor and musical performer. The book does justice to this difficult Bob Dylan by examining his method and effects through a disparate set of viewpoints. Readers will find a variety of critical contexts and cultural perspectives as well as a range of experiences as members of Dylan's audience.