Bob Dylan is probably the most revered, influential and enigmatic figure in contemporary popular culture. This intelligent and stimulating new book explores every aspect of his work. In 'Ballad of a Thin Man' in 1965, Dylan launched a withering attack on the myopic critic of culture: 'Something is happening here But you don't know what it is, Do you, Mister Jones?' Yet Dylan himself has been a subject of consuming interest to many of the most significant poets and critics over the last thirty years. It has even been argued that he is the finest living user of the English language - true to his genius through all his changes of stance, constantly exploring the state of his soul as he dons the cloak of lover, clown, cowboy, priest, bleak prophet of doom. In this collection, poets and professors explore different aspects of Dylan's work, writing about his impact on their own intellectual and artistic lives, as well as his wider influence. Contributors are Simon Armitage, Richard Brown, Christopher Butler, Bryan Cheyette, Patrick Crotty, Aidan Day, Mark Ford, Lavinia Greenlaw, Daniel Karlin, Paul Muldoon, Nicholas Roe, Pamela Thurschwell, Susan Wheeler and Sean Wilentz.
Serious Dylan criticism is rare and these fascinating, specially commissioned essays are rigorous and challenging, at once a celebration and a questioning of a powerful talent, the genius Leonard Cohen called 'the Picasso of song'.
Neil Corcoran is Professor of English at the University of St Andrews.