I have read this interesting thread and thanks for all the contributions.
I still don't understand, though, how this method differs from things people have been doing for a long time. The Waste Land had 'incorporations' nearly a hundred years ago, using snatches and fragments from elsewhere to build up theme and scene. And Burroughs' cut up technique placed bits of found language to create accidental meaning and so on. We know Bob is a bit of a modernist (as well as a bit of a surrealist and a bit of a romantic and a bit of a song and dance man...), and maybe there are not very many popular songwriters who have gone there, but it's not news on earth that people use language in these ways. I don't get the hullabaloo.
Pockets, You are right to see the connection. One of the aims of the thread is/was to explore the relationships between Dylan's way of writing (and painting) and approaches like Modernism and Postmodernism, &c....One of the reasons for describing these relationships is the persistence of arguments about whether Dylan was (a) "accidentally" including these other texts (unconsciously, that is), or (b) plagiarizing them. From my side, neither (a) nor (b) is tenable given what has come to light thanks to the work of people like Warmuth, Cook and Richard Thomas.
We've also tried to explore the claims made by Warmuth about a kind of "secret code" or set of hidden puzzles in Dylan's late work, tied to those incorporations. As you saw, Warmuth has clarified his positions, and I think the idea of a "master code" has been put aside -- just as most people on the thread expected.
For my part, I hope to become a little clearer on Dylan's late style, to try to understand whether and how it might be different from other stages of his work. But also, to understand how Dylan's writing and his sources differentiate him from other artists (whether popular or high-cultural).
I appreciate the efforts, and it's fun to see where Dylan has magpied from, but I don't understand why it is anything more than that.
Just as is the case with other writers engaged in this kind of incorporation, interpretation has to address the relationship between the various texts and contexts. Of course, not everyone is inclined to be interested in a kind of literary critical or theoretical interpretation of works of art. I happen to be very interested in both. Dylan's incorporations (of both high and low culture) make those kinds of interpretive efforts all the more rewarding and interesting to me.
As you know having read the thread, I've expressed my appreciation for Warmuth's efforts to identify and provide context for Dylan's sources. And while his methods remain unclear, his claims are not easily dismissed. He almost always is careful to give strong evidence for claims that Dylan has incorporated elements of some specific source text. Spending some time reading Warmuth's work, as well as the growing body of writing on this issue by other scholars and researchers, makes it far, far more difficult to believe that it is a matter of coincidence or accidental transmission.