Cambridge Companion to Bob Dylan

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A towering figure in American culture and a global twentieth-century icon, Bob Dylan has been at the center of American life for over forty years. The Cambridge Companion to Bob Dylan brings fresh insights into the imposing range of Dylan's creative output. This book will be invaluable both as a guide for students of Dylan and twentieth-century culture, and for his fans, providing a set of new perspectives on a much-loved writer and composer.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

These indispensable new books of Bob Dylan criticism carry on important critical traditions. Dettmar's (Is Rock Dead?) compilation of critical essays and reviews, like The Bob Dylan Companion: Four Decades of Commentary and Studio A: The Bob Dylan Reader, among others, is being marketed as a classroom text to support the growing number of college courses offered on Dylan. Its 17 essays are divided between "Perspectives" (e.g., Dylan and religion, Dylan and gender, Dylan as a performer) and "Landmark Albums." In this latter section, an unexpected choice is Infidels(1983), ably critiqued by novelist Jonathan Lethem. The historian Eric Lott writes on Love and Theft(2001), a wickedly appropriate match-up since Dylan took his album title from Lott's book of the same name.

In his fourth book on Dylan, Heylin provides an encyclopedic account of every song written by Dylan, from his juvenile efforts in the late 1950s to songs from Planet Waves in 1973; a second volume is promised. The songs are arranged chronologically, according to the date written, and range in length from a few sentences to several pages. The longer entries are not surprising-e.g., "Like a Rolling Stone" gets eight pages, and "Blowin' in the Wind" gets five. The book's great value is the discovery of many songs that Dylan either never performed or exist only on hard-to-find bootlegs. For each of the 300 songs, the first known performance and studio versions are cited, and Heylin offers analysis from his close reading of Dylan's life and career. This fascinating book is a perfect companion to Heylin's Bob Dylan: The Recording Sessions, 1960-1994 and will have the samehypnotic effect on Dylan fans as Michael Gray's The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia. Like the Cambridge Companion, it is highly recommended for academic libraries.
—Thomas A. Karel

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521714945
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 5/31/2009
  • Series: Cambridge Companions to American Studies Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 204
  • Sales rank: 1,491,485
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Kevin J. H. Dettmar is W. M. Keck Distinguished Service Professor and Chair in the Department of English, Pomona College, California.

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Table of Contents

Chronology of Dylan's life

A Note on Dylan's lyrics

Introduction Kevin J. H. Dettmar Dettmar, Kevin J. H. 1

Pt. I Perspectives

1 Bob Dylan and the Anglo-American tradition David Yaffe Yaffe, David 15

2 Bob Dylan and the Anglo-American tradition Michael Denning Denning, Michael 15

3 Bob Dylan as songwriter Anthony DeCurtis DeCurtis, Anthony 42

4 Bob Dylan as performer Alan Light Light, Alan 55

5 Bob Dylan and collaboration Martin Jacobi Jacobi, Martin 69

6 Bob Dylan and gender politics Barbara O'Dair O'Dair, Barbara 80

7 Bob Dylan and religion R. Clifton Spargo Spargo, R. Clifton Anne K. Ream Ream, Anne K. 87

8 Bob Dylan and the Academy Lee Marshall Marshall, Lee 100

9 Bob Dylan as cultural icon David Shumway Shumway, David 110

Pt. II Landmark Albums

10 The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan (1963) Eric Bulson Bulson, Eric 125

11 Bringing It All Back Home (1965) Jean Tamarin Tamarin, Jean 131

12 Highway 61 Revisited (1965) Robert Polito Polito, Robert 137

13 Blonde on Blonde (1966) Michael Coyle Coyle, Michael Debra Rae Cohen Cohen, Debra Rae 143

14 The Basement Tapes (1967; 1975) Alex Abramovich Abramovich, Alex 150

15 Blood on the Tracks (1975) Carrie Brownstein Brownstein, Carrie 155

16 Infidels (1983) Jonathan Lethem Lethem, Jonathan 160

17 Love and Theft (2001) Eric Lott Lott, Eric 167

Works cited 174

Index 180

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