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PostPosted: Tue February 5th, 2013, 13:35 GMT 
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^Same about Darkness At Noon.


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PostPosted: Tue February 5th, 2013, 13:36 GMT 
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I'd love to be able to draw a trajectory about 'combing my hair' in song lyrics from Van Morrison ("Wild Night", 1971) to Rod Stewart ("Every Picture Tells A Story", 1971) to Bruce Springsteen ("Dancing In the Dark,"1984) but I assume that 'combing my hair' is an old, old conceit in songs. (supermabel1 would probably know about this..). Early Springsteen seems hugely influenced by Van Morrison. But the idea of standing in front of the mirror and checking out your hair before going out at night is so universal that it's a stretch to claim any of those people were referencing each other. (They may have all been paying tribute to the 'hair-combing' mime of "Soul Train" dancers.......). I could claim that Stewart and Springsteen were paying tribute to Morrison but combing one's hair is so ubiquitous that maybe they weren't. This seems silly but I often think the 'sourcing' of Dylan is as loose as this.
I like the 'hair combing' tribute idea, but there's nothing to back it up except that I like it in theory.........


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PostPosted: Tue February 5th, 2013, 13:49 GMT 
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the_revelator wrote:
This seems silly but I often think the 'sourcing' of Dylan is as loose as this.


The question of where to draw the line is an important one. When I read Juvenal, I found that within the satires, there were three phrases which Bob used as song titles on Tempest, but each of them is just three words. It's tricky - like, "Sicilian court" is in there, too, but also a couple of longer lines that show up almost word for word in the songs. But the thing is that from what I've seen he rarely seem to quote a source only once. Just like there are numerous quotes from John Greenleaf Whittier, Ovid, Shakespeare, ...


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PostPosted: Tue February 5th, 2013, 14:01 GMT 
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Johanna Parker wrote:
the_revelator wrote:
This seems silly but I often think the 'sourcing' of Dylan is as loose as this.


The question of where to draw the line is an important one. When I read Juvenal, I found that within the satires, there were three phrases which Bob used as song titles on Tempest, but each of them is just three words. It's tricky - like, "Sicilian court" is in there, too, but also a couple of longer lines that show up almost word for word in the songs. But the thing is that from what I've seen he rarely seem to quote a source only once. Just like there are numerous quotes from John Greenleaf Whittier, Ovid, Shakespeare, ...

It's probably safe to assume legitimacy if he quotes or references an author's work three or four times in a single song, as he does with Blake in "Every Grain of Sand".


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PostPosted: Tue February 5th, 2013, 14:45 GMT 
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the_revelator wrote:
I'd love to be able to draw a trajectory about 'combing my hair' in song lyrics from Van Morrison ("Wild Night", 1971) to Rod Stewart ("Every Picture Tells A Story", 1971) to Bruce Springsteen ("Dancing In the Dark,"1984) but I assume that 'combing my hair' is an old, old conceit in songs. (supermabel1 would probably know about this..). Early Springsteen seems hugely influenced by Van Morrison. But the idea of standing in front of the mirror and checking out your hair before going out at night is so universal that it's a stretch to claim any of those people were referencing each other. (They may have all been paying tribute to the 'hair-combing' mime of "Soul Train" dancers.......). I could claim that Stewart and Springsteen were paying tribute to Morrison but combing one's hair is so ubiquitous that maybe they weren't. This seems silly but I often think the 'sourcing' of Dylan is as loose as this.
I like the 'hair combing' tribute idea, but there's nothing to back it up except that I like it in theory.........


Covered by Van and the Cheiftains on Irish Heartbeat, I was reminded of this:

From Wikipedia:
"I'll Tell Me Ma" (also called "The Wind") is a well known children's song. It was collected in various parts of England in the 19th century and again appears in collections from shortly after the turn of the 20th century.[1] In Ireland the chorus usually refers to Belfast city and is known colloquially as "The Belle of Belfast City", although it is also adapted to other Irish cities, such as Dublin.[2] English versions refer to the "Golden City" or "London City". This song is Roud Folk Song Index number 2649.


I'll tell me ma
When I go home
The boys won't leave
The girls alone
They pulled my hair
They stole my comb
But that's alright
Til I go home
She is handsome she is pretty
She is the belle of belfast city


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PostPosted: Tue February 5th, 2013, 14:54 GMT 
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Also Carl Perkins:
Lend me your comb,
it's time to go home.
I got to go past,
my hair is a mess
Your mammie will scold,
your pappie will shout.
Unless we come in
the way we went out.
Kissing you was fun honey
but thanks for the date.
But I must come to run honey,
but you know baby it's getting late.
Just wait till I say:
my darling,
lend me your comb.
We got to go home.
Kissing you was fun honey
but thanks for the date.
But I must come to run, honey.
but sugar, it's getting late.
Just wait till I
say: my darling,
lend me your comb.
We got to go home.


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PostPosted: Tue February 5th, 2013, 15:14 GMT 
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the_revelator wrote:
I'd love to be able to draw a trajectory about 'combing my hair' in song lyrics from Van Morrison ("Wild Night", 1971) to Rod Stewart ("Every Picture Tells A Story", 1971) to Bruce Springsteen ("Dancing In the Dark,"1984) but I assume that 'combing my hair' is an old, old conceit in songs. (supermabel1 would probably know about this..). Early Springsteen seems hugely influenced by Van Morrison. But the idea of standing in front of the mirror and checking out your hair before going out at night is so universal that it's a stretch to claim any of those people were referencing each other. (They may have all been paying tribute to the 'hair-combing' mime of "Soul Train" dancers.......). I could claim that Stewart and Springsteen were paying tribute to Morrison but combing one's hair is so ubiquitous that maybe they weren't. This seems silly but I often think the 'sourcing' of Dylan is as loose as this.
I like the 'hair combing' tribute idea, but there's nothing to back it up except that I like it in theory.........

Nah, supermabel's got no insight on this :shock: :) - but I reckon you're right: it's an old, old conceit. Couple of songs leap out immediately - Settin' The Woods on Fire:

Comb your hair and paint and powder
You act proud and I'll act prouder
You sing loud and I'll sing louder
Tonight we're settin' the woods on fire


and A Day In The Life:

Got up got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head

Vain, cool guys and their combs - before my (tele-viewing) time, Ed "Kookie" Byrnes in 77 Sunset Strip: he and Connie Stevens had a novelty hit with Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb. 8)


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PostPosted: Tue February 5th, 2013, 15:16 GMT 
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Johanna Parker wrote:
Thanks, inthealley, great post.
I agree with your wish to see all of Bob's lyrics (I'd say all of his writings, even) annotated, but I also definitely agree when you say,

Quote:
This might well be overkill for many; for others it will fit in with their personalities pretty well - each to their own.


How could this be possible? Much of Dylan's work defies explanation.
There are probably other examples of more 'direct' quotes like Ovid, Timrod, Bogart films, F Scott Fitzgerald yet to be discovered but how is anyone going to annotate 'Visions Of Johanna'?


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PostPosted: Tue February 5th, 2013, 15:23 GMT 
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Apologies for straying off topic and back to the comb, but I gotta post these lines from that old Bacharach (I think) song, "Wives and Lovers":

Hey, little girl,
Comb your hair, fix your make-up.
Soon he will open the door.
Don't think because
There's a ring on your finger,
You needn't try any more

For wives should always be lovers, too.
Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you.
I'm warning you.

Day after day,
There are girls at the office,
And men will always be men.
Don't send him off
With your hair still in curlers.
You may not see him again.

:lol:


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PostPosted: Tue February 5th, 2013, 17:19 GMT 
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Fair Play wrote:
how is anyone going to annotate 'Visions Of Johanna'?


It wouldn't necessarily have to be direct quotes only, but all kinds of references. Mona Lisa probably wouldn't need much explanation, but it's one example of reference to another work of art. Or things that might be widely understood in the US but needs explaining to parts of his audience elsewhere. Or the religious images that don't mean the same to everyone everywhere. There would be plenty to work with in most of his songs.


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PostPosted: Tue February 5th, 2013, 18:13 GMT 
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planet drop wrote:
Apologies for straying off topic and back to the comb, but I gotta post these lines from that old Bacharach (I think) song, "Wives and Lovers":

Bacharach & David, pd. Words by Hal David, music by Burt B. It's a sad fact of life that Hal David is largely forgotten while Bacharach continues to be lionised for the great songs they created together.


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PostPosted: Tue February 5th, 2013, 20:50 GMT 
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chrome horse wrote:
quote="Johanna Parker"]
JP I am just happy to enjoy Bob's music for its own sake.
[/quote]

And that's fine. You represent the "ignorance is bliss" crowd. Just don't force your limited vision on others.[/quote]
Hardly considering the amount of time over the past 50 years I have spent studying Dylan, when many here in ER know a lot more than me, among my friends and associates here I am regarded as an authority on Dylan.


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PostPosted: Tue February 5th, 2013, 21:30 GMT 
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MMD wrote:
oldmanemu wrote:
It is not just "Tempest", "Love and Theft" or "Chronicles " which must be looked at . It is the whole catalogue which needs to be looked at .
Remember the issue or topic is not recent, it is virtually as old as Dylan's career.


You do like to say that, emu. And it may be true. But you've never shown us that.

It seems to me more resonant with what we know to say that there is a stylistic break prior to Love and Theft, maybe to the period of Time out of Mind, in the way Dylan writes and uses sources. Not -- let's be clear -- that he doesn't allude and bite phrases going back all the way to the first writing; he does. But my sense is that, there, it's in a more traditional way and distinct from what he does in a song like Lonesome Day Blues, for example.

So, you have repeatedly said that all of this incorporation is nothing new. That's fine. Go back to the early albums, find the incorporations and their sources and make your case.

Show us.

I hope you're right. It'll make things around here a lot more fun.


Just so we're clear: my post to emu was not an attack or a dismissal. It was a real invitation to expand this thread, to have people with an extremely long relationship with Dylan's writing to share what they know about Dylan's writing style prior to, say, TOOM.

I think, but cannot make a strong case, that there is a real stylistic break in the way Dylan takes from other texts that happens somewhere around TOOM or L&T. Why do I think that? Because all the evidence I've seen suggests it. But that could easily just be a matter of there being more writing on the post TOOM period.

Hence the invitation to emu. Hence the "I hope you're right." I really do.

Since we all know Dylan referenced and alluded and borrowed going all the way back, the question is whether there is a fundamental stylistic difference in the way he "quotes" that happens...or maybe several of them?

Anyway, this is exactly how most everyone took my post since there are already interesting posts I am eager to read.


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PostPosted: Tue February 5th, 2013, 21:31 GMT 
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Fair Play wrote:
but how is anyone going to annotate 'Visions Of Johanna'?


Because people...all of them...are crazy in their own way. Academia is really just a collection of people who do this, but with older more obscure texts...the older and more obscurer the better.


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PostPosted: Tue February 5th, 2013, 21:37 GMT 
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inthealley wrote:
I don't post very often - I find much discussion on ER now quite boring and trivial, and THIS thread is a marked exception ..... it would be a pity if it turned into a battle between sides rather than the genial discussing of potential similarities and differences it has been. I take a kind of middle position here, and I rather suspect that emu takes a less extreme position than is portrayed by some. I think that Bob has always from the earliest songs borrowed, stolen, referenced whatever one likes to call it, and that this is not only part of the natural process within modern literature, but is central both to the folk process and to art as a generality. I was immensely stunned to discover that Chimes of Freedom borrows it's melody from an extremely early source, having believed previously this song came out of a dope-fuelled trip and a thunderstorm, pure and simple.

What seems equally clear to me is that Dylan 'develops', changing through time, looping back on himself, and going forward, almost in the same moment. The borrowings are clearly there from the beginning, this especially true in melodies. But what is equally clear to me is that there is a point where it progresses, and where the referencing becomes stronger and more central to the purpose of the art. A long time back, before there was readily available (in England) a set of official lyrics, I got a bootlegged set of lyrics from some Brighton store that sold 'contraband' and began to annotate it ...... unfortunately, over the years I lost it, but I really think the idea of doing such a thing for ALL Bob's lyrics is a strong one.

There is no need for disagreement here..... I rather liked the bibliography of books Bob has referenced that johanna found and have a few leads of my own to throw in (like the reference to David Reissman's 60's book 'The Lonely Crowd' in 'I Shall be Released'). I would like that to be hugely expanded, to demonstrate the complexity of Bob's 'journey' and also its development. Personally I would like to see the whole canon 'unpicked' by textual annotation of every song.

This might well be overkill for many; for others it will fit in with their personalities pretty well - each to their own. What it will show is whether MMDs view - that there's a change around the time of TOOM or L&T that is evidence of an important artistic change of direction - is correct. I think there is a lot of thoughtful stuff throughout this thread, but in the end someone has to start recording and annotating lyrics - THAT is the way forward. And not just for TOOM onwards, but for the whole works.


Yes, we can't just sit around and wait for someone else to do the annotation and P.I work. And sleuthing is the way to go...if you have time!

And, I asume there is a significant change that happens in the L&T period (maybe compositions dating back to TOOM period) that bring Dylan closer to a collage method than the traditional borrow a tune or a line from a folk song method...or update the lyrics to a folk song or blues method -- something nearly every songwriter does. There are no pure geniuses. There just aren't (except maybe in mathematics....hmmm).

And while I think that the stylistic break is a real and important one -- it wouldn't hurt my feelings if it went all the way back. I would just need someone to show me... if they can.

So, no "sides" -- just a friendly debate.


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PostPosted: Wed February 6th, 2013, 00:52 GMT 
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supermabel1 wrote:
Bacharach & David, pd. Words by Hal David, music by Burt B. It's a sad fact of life that Hal David is largely forgotten while Bacharach continues to be lionised for the great songs they created together.

Good point mabel (although I'm chuffed you've confirmed the Bacharach connection :? ).


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PostPosted: Wed February 6th, 2013, 10:06 GMT 

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As I say, I don't post often ..... thanks those who did for the nice remarks!

I wanted to come back to expand on 'annotation'. What I meant by that was what I used to do in the 60s studying Eng Lit. I had an really excellent 'A' Level teacher, who pointed up wonderful things as we worked our way through a particular text. I began to write pencil comments in and around the text to remind me of things I might later follow up in reading, and in writing essays. My attempts at making sense of a text were rather like the things you could find in on Oxford Shakespeare (though obviously less scholarly, and more imprecise) where words are explained, their sources explored and so on. If done as it was in the Oxford, this didn't detract from reading the text, but certainly expanded both understanding and appreciation. If a 'theme' was repeated in a novel, I would cross reference the pages where the theme surfaced.

As I progressed to the good old U of Sussex, I continued and developed this 'system', but still found the stuff I'd done at A Level when I went back to it quite adequate at degree level. Even now, I can go back and find interest and merit in all that stuff written more than 40 years ago.

I was not thinking of anything prescriptive - if people want to try to share ideas and standardise recording, they can do that, but others will just want to chug along in their own way. One method might be to take the lyrics out of bobdylan.com, and print them out as a place to annotate. These printouts can be enlarged to increase space, and the method keeps original book copies of lyrics in good condition. If you go through the pages of ER discussions, there are loads of comments which feed into this process, but what they don't do is place all the information (if only in note form) in one place.

I'd just add that I am not thinking here of a particular KIND of referencing (or even solely of referencing) - anything YOU think adds to the understanding/expansion of the text can go in. Those who want to put up the idea (which I subscribe to) that the type of referencing changes through time could even use colour coding to show different kinds, if they want to take this into OCD realms! I want to add also that I think that there really are different types of 'nods' and sources in Bob's lyrics - that "Lonely Crowd' idea I suggested earlier is, I think, not necessarily an indication of Bob having read the book - I didn't, and I recognised it the first time I heard the song. Bob would have known the name of books he hadn't read, and picked up on their contents ....... I was really intrigued what the Erica Jong thread uncovers!!


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PostPosted: Wed February 6th, 2013, 11:42 GMT 
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MMD wrote:
Because people...all of them...are crazy in their own way. Academia is really just a collection of people who do this, but with older more obscure texts...the older and more obscurer the better.


Definitely true about craziness. :) But what makes something obscure? We're talking about an artist who has such a wide audience.... maybe not quite worldwide, but wide enough by far for people with different cultural backgrounds to be puzzled by different aspects of his writings.


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PostPosted: Wed February 6th, 2013, 12:35 GMT 
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It would be wonderful if Scott Warmuth could join this thread for a comment or two.


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PostPosted: Wed February 6th, 2013, 15:48 GMT 
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Johanna Parker wrote:
MMD wrote:
Because people...all of them...are crazy in their own way. Academia is really just a collection of people who do this, but with older more obscure texts...the older and more obscurer the better.


Definitely true about craziness. :) But what makes something obscure? We're talking about an artist who has such a wide audience.... maybe not quite worldwide, but wide enough by far for people with different cultural backgrounds to be puzzled by different aspects of his writings.

He's not calling BD's work obscure, but the texts academics usually work with.


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PostPosted: Wed February 6th, 2013, 15:57 GMT 
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^ That's not was I was saying. I think annotation of Bob's work would generally be interesting to everyone who wants to study his work, but probably even more so, or let's say more helpful or whatever one might call it, to those who don't have a similar cultural background as Bob has.


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PostPosted: Wed February 6th, 2013, 16:59 GMT 
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inthealley wrote:
As I say, I don't post often ..... thanks those who did for the nice remarks!

I wanted to come back to expand on 'annotation'. What I meant by that was what I used to do in the 60s studying Eng Lit. I had an really excellent 'A' Level teacher, who pointed up wonderful things as we worked our way through a particular text. I began to write pencil comments in and around the text to remind me of things I might later follow up in reading, and in writing essays. My attempts at making sense of a text were rather like the things you could find in on Oxford Shakespeare (though obviously less scholarly, and more imprecise) where words are explained, their sources explored and so on. If done as it was in the Oxford, this didn't detract from reading the text, but certainly expanded both understanding and appreciation. If a 'theme' was repeated in a novel, I would cross reference the pages where the theme surfaced.

As I progressed to the good old U of Sussex, I continued and developed this 'system', but still found the stuff I'd done at A Level when I went back to it quite adequate at degree level. Even now, I can go back and find interest and merit in all that stuff written more than 40 years ago.

I was not thinking of anything prescriptive - if people want to try to share ideas and standardise recording, they can do that, but others will just want to chug along in their own way. One method might be to take the lyrics out of bobdylan.com, and print them out as a place to annotate. These printouts can be enlarged to increase space, and the method keeps original book copies of lyrics in good condition. If you go through the pages of ER discussions, there are loads of comments which feed into this process, but what they don't do is place all the information (if only in note form) in one place.

I'd just add that I am not thinking here of a particular KIND of referencing (or even solely of referencing) - anything YOU think adds to the understanding/expansion of the text can go in. Those who want to put up the idea (which I subscribe to) that the type of referencing changes through time could even use colour coding to show different kinds, if they want to take this into OCD realms! I want to add also that I think that there really are different types of 'nods' and sources in Bob's lyrics - that "Lonely Crowd' idea I suggested earlier is, I think, not necessarily an indication of Bob having read the book - I didn't, and I recognised it the first time I heard the song. Bob would have known the name of books he hadn't read, and picked up on their contents ....... I was really intrigued what the Erica Jong thread uncovers!!

I don't know if you've read it, but Lawrence Rainey's The Annotated Waste Land is brilliant and would be
He notes when there is disagreement between scholars and is careful to say when something is just speculation.


You could really do some great stuff with this.
Ex.
As I Went Out One Morning invites a feminist reading but not many people ever point it out when talking about it, although some have:
The song clocks in at 2 minutes 49 seconds, a mere heartbeat for a Dylan song. The lyrics total 140 words. Three characters appear, there are five spoken lines–complete with dialogue tags that should but do not weigh down lyrics that are already pared down. There is an exchange of four spoken lines alone in the second verse. There are only two adjectives in the song, both describe the girl who is the occasion for the song’s drama. There is one adverb in the song, the girl’s “secretly”–a word that is temptation and confession and plea all at once. Look at the precision with which the verbs carry the song’s plot and also carry its themes: the singer is free, he merely went to breathe the air around Tom Paine’s–he is free to move about in the world, even upon another man’s land, to take the air at his leisure. All very well until he spied the girl–spying implies something is hidden. She walks in chains–unlike the singer, she is not free, but her beauty is his snare. He offers her his hand–a gallant and intimate gesture that belies the truth of the encounter: his own freedom permits him gallantry, but her enslavement forbids her to respond with the same code. She took his arm, she is violent and possessive in her bid for freedom. The man can afford to be courtly with his desire. All they’ve got out in that field is their bodies and voices, and the 2nd verse is a compact dance of power and powerlessness: the man asserts the authority that’s his to begin with, and formally insists she “depart”–as though he is now the one enslaved and she controls his freedom. The lyrics give her the vocabulary of supplication “wish…beg….pleaded.” The singer speaks only the language of authority “you have no choice,” he says simply. She tries to tempt him by reversing the roles, she’ll “accept him”. It’s worth noting that at this point Dylan chooses the South as the destination of freedom for this woman who walks in chains. The world of John Wesley Harding is indeed not the same as the world of Oxford Town.

Christopher Hitchens uses the first 2 lines of the song as an epigraph for his book on Thomas Paine. Tom Paine, the voice of reason against power, egalitarianism, Common Sense. But the language assigned him in this song is the language of authority and power. He runs, shouts, and commands. He hastens to take control of the situation. He addresses the singer with deference. He claims responsibility for the woman’s actions. Now the singer does not seem quite the carefree simple character who merely wants to breathe air belonging to all men, and spy beautiful women who are also the property of men. He seems at the end to be a figure who can demand respect and to whom others are responsible. The woman is silent at the song’s end, she’s let go of the singer, her bid for freedom is over. The song is over.

The singer is ultimately absolved of his own desire, it’s the woman’s urgent plea for freedom that intimidates him, and he’s rescued by another man’s power over the woman. The singer is free again at the end, the woman’s still walking in her chains. You can see it all: the field, the woman in the distance and then in the foreground, the hands, the arm, the woman’s urgent and seductive face as she pleads, the man now frightened and repulsed, another man running, the woman knows she is truly powerless and drops her hand. A drama of desire, freedom, authority, powerlessness, will, subordination, intimidation, order restored: it’s all there in the 24 (I think i got that right) verbs.

It’s the restoration of order that’s so troubling here. The singer remains free, absolved of having approached an enslaved woman with disingenuous courtesy. Dylan’s vocals just make the story more morally troubling. The meticulous enunciation, the way “hand” and “grip” are high, sustained, and imploring notes–the singer just seems so convincing and sympathetic.

Am I just exchanging one politics for another, by giving this delicate and barbed and rich song a *gendered* reading? Like Bob himself, I don’t want to pose any question that I already have the answer for. I don’t have the answer for that question. But I want to reclaim what I think is a marvelous impressionistic moral drama from Mike Marqusee dismissal of it
.--Nina Goss



And I just thought of this, but it becomes even more interesting when you start thinking about 19th century American history and the feminist and abolition movements. Many of the early American feminists were committed abolitionists, some women who weren't feminists (or women's rights advocates) became so through their involvement in the abolition movement, as the great Angelica Grimke put it, the investigation of the rights of the slave has led me to better understand my own. Frederick Douglass was involved in both movements, he called himself a women's rights man, and remained friends with Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony even after their association w/ white supremacists and the like.


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PostPosted: Wed February 6th, 2013, 18:09 GMT 

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Yes, I have my own copy of the annotated Wasteland ....... I'm not a fan of TSEliot's politics, but love his poetry. Bob references TSE in 'Too Much of Nothing', with that chorus about Valerie and Vivian - only a reader of a fair amount of biographical information about Eliot could come up with that sly one! (I can't remember the title/author of the biography I have read, but the chorus jumped out and hit me the first time I heard it!!)

I'm intrigued by the extent of the annotations you're considering, but you WOULD need a big area to fit that in, or else something like codes and accompanying sheets with explanatory text. But the point is that this is really what anyone starts to do when they get in deep into studying texts. I just want to say that it can be as deep or as minimalist as anyone wants - whatever helps them in having a go at the work they're looking at. A while back, someone imagined the impossibility of doing this for 'Visions of Johanna' (I think). I feel that, as much as I understand that viewpoint, if you really wanted to get deep into the lyrics of that song (and the melody too) you really couldn't do it any other way than annotating, or at least, I can't think of one.


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PostPosted: Wed February 6th, 2013, 22:59 GMT 
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Johanna Parker wrote:
^ That's not was I was saying. I think annotation of Bob's work would generally be interesting to everyone who wants to study his work, but probably even more so, or let's say more helpful or whatever one might call it, to those who don't have a similar cultural background as Bob has.

Which is all of us!


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PostPosted: Wed February 6th, 2013, 23:16 GMT 
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I think you do know what I mean, emu.


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