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PostPosted: Sat June 30th, 2012, 00:35 GMT 
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From Rollin and Tumblin: I've been conjuring up all these long dead souls from their crumblin' tombs

This line jumped out at me as I was driving tonight. Has this already been mentioned? I feel like it has but I wasn't sure.


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PostPosted: Sat June 30th, 2012, 06:58 GMT 
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Train,
Nice find. I think that Thomas (in the article I linked to early in this thread) credits Fell as his first introduction to this phenomenon. But, I had not seen Fell's actual writing.

Raging,
yes, I will look it up, but I know I read that the line about conjuring souls is from another source. I'll come back here when I am free to spend some time and post it.

Best wishes to all.


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PostPosted: Sat June 30th, 2012, 12:55 GMT 

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hi mmd,raging glory, and all- i hope you don't mind me responding to the question about the lost dead souls line. i first learned it was from ovid from s. warmuth's goon talk blog, who maybe found it through Cliff Fell- who knows

http://swarmuth.blogspot.com/2008_11_01_archive.html

there is tons of stuff about ovid i'm sure and i have only looked at this so far, but i was reading a study guide by Paul Brians who was/is a prof at washington state university, and i found that interesting- regardless of whether it is relevant to b. dylans songs

http://public.wsu.edu/~brians/love-in-t ... /ovid.html


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PostPosted: Sat June 30th, 2012, 21:50 GMT 
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ifitwastruetennessee wrote:
hi mmd,raging glory, and all- i hope you don't mind me responding to the question about the lost dead souls line. i first learned it was from ovid from s. warmuth's goon talk blog, who maybe found it through Cliff Fell- who knows

http://swarmuth.blogspot.com/2008_11_01_archive.html

there is tons of stuff about ovid i'm sure and i have only looked at this so far, but i was reading a study guide by Paul Brians who was/is a prof at washington state university, and i found that interesting- regardless of whether it is relevant to b. dylans songs

http://public.wsu.edu/~brians/love-in-t ... /ovid.html


Thanks for both of those things ifitweretrue. And yes, there is a ton of stuff about Ovid. 13 lines out of 73 in Ain't Talkin' (for example) are from Ovid. Lonesome Day Blues, Working Man's Blues #2 have Ovid in them as well.


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PostPosted: Sat June 30th, 2012, 23:59 GMT 

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yeah, that ovid, he were a pretty funny guy sometimes it seems :) - on wikipedia, i was reading about ovid, the part about the art of love, where he instructs men on how to be around women, and then writes another part to women telling them how to defend themselves against the stuff he has just instructed the men about, but tells them both- spread my fame- looks like dylan is doing his part

Naso magister erat, Ovid was our teacher


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PostPosted: Mon July 2nd, 2012, 09:28 GMT 
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Quote:
For many, L&T held powerful associations to that immediate tragedy - but they existed only because of an accident of timing.
Johanna Parker wrote:
^^Just as TOOM will likely be linked, for many, with Bob's '97 illness.
*Snooze* Huh, uh, what now? Well, no wonder this thread had slipped to the second page!


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PostPosted: Mon July 2nd, 2012, 13:23 GMT 
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One thing about all this disturbs me slightly . Some of us have posted that they have no doubt Dylan will still be read and talked about centuries from now like Shakespeare etc.
I am not sure if we can be certain of that. Certainly there is now adays an imense volume of his work in print film recordings etc that will most likely be still available in years to come . However I wonder about that .
Over the centuries many popular figures have come and gone andin the end are only known by scholars and hisorians and some who for varios reason have found their work.
In the coming years we will be confronted by ever so many more musicians and poets of varying standards . It will not be easy for us to work out where these artists and those who have gone before them belong.
I think and hope that overt ime many but not all Dylan songs will become part of our rich culture and be regarded as standards and a good representation of the popular culture of our day .
However I am not sure if he will be as highly thought of our discussed as much as he is now.
However if the code is revealed that may alter all of the above !!!


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PostPosted: Mon July 2nd, 2012, 21:19 GMT 

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oldmanemu wrote:
I think and hope that overt ime many but not all Dylan songs will become part of our rich culture and be regarded as standards and a good representation of the popular culture of our day .


i am not trying to be rude, but, our rich culture.... for me, i hope it's not a standard, (of what our culture represents- i am feeling pessimistic now) and that he is not seen as a good representation of popular culture of our day, his work is better than that. i don't know, maybe bob is too late... maybe there is no translation, there is no code. i even disabled my smile, just to make my point... :/


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PostPosted: Tue July 3rd, 2012, 00:07 GMT 
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ifitwastruetennessee wrote:
oldmanemu wrote:
I think and hope that overt ime many but not all Dylan songs will become part of our rich culture and be regarded as standards and a good representation of the popular culture of our day .


i am not trying to be rude, but, our rich culture.... for me, i hope it's not a standard, (of what our culture represents- i am feeling pessimistic now) and that he is not seen as a good representation of popular culture of our day, his work is better than that. i don't know, maybe bob is too late... maybe there is no translation, there is no code. i even disabled my smile, just to make my point... :/

there are many levels of culture I think of culture as high level art and literature that stands the testsd of time and helps define the quality of our lives . I am also aware of the lowest common denomination of cuture which I term as "the coca cola culture " in which anythibg goes and in which some people seem to think that any thing which can be written or recorded or created has value , when in fact the opposite is true and we get so much rubbish put out now.


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PostPosted: Tue July 3rd, 2012, 01:16 GMT 

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i have to be careful, because you got me to thinking about what i write sometimes... :)
oldmanemu wrote:
some people seem to think that any thing which can be written or recorded or created has value , when in fact the opposite is true and we get so much rubbish put out now.


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PostPosted: Tue July 3rd, 2012, 14:56 GMT 

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oldmanemu wrote:
One thing about all this disturbs me slightly . Some of us have posted that they have no doubt Dylan will still be read and talked about centuries from now like Shakespeare etc.
I am not sure if we can be certain of that. Certainly there is now adays an imense volume of his work in print film recordings etc that will most likely be still available in years to come . However I wonder about that .
Over the centuries many popular figures have come and gone andin the end are only known by scholars and hisorians and some who for varios reason have found their work.
In the coming years we will be confronted by ever so many more musicians and poets of varying standards . It will not be easy for us to work out where these artists and those who have gone before them belong.
I think and hope that overt ime many but not all Dylan songs will become part of our rich culture and be regarded as standards and a good representation of the popular culture of our day .
However I am not sure if he will be as highly thought of our discussed as much as he is now.
However if the code is revealed that may alter all of the above !!!


His place in history is already secure - code or no code. The proven universality of his lyrics have made him a worldwide phenomenon and a source of hope for freedom loving people everywhere. Brain dead mutants don't get it, but real people do.


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PostPosted: Tue July 3rd, 2012, 18:17 GMT 
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I think that it took some 175 years or so before people realized that ca. 1600AD was the Age of Shakespeare (though, Ben Jonson and some others, I think, understood immediately).

So, will future generations look back on our time as the Age of Dylan? I think and hope so. Possibly even more than Shakespeare, Dylan came to embody the spirit of our times. Even its very look. And, he even still wields a kind of power that eludes most artists, and, when it does come to them, is not something they readily accept.

But, that designation, if it is made, will be made by those who come after us. All that we can do is to keep the music alive. And, hope that future generations "get" what we "got."

I think that Bob himself was once asked if he thought that his work would survive. His answer, to paraphrase, was along the lines of, "I don't know. I know that the quality is there, but who's gonna sing it?"

I normally don't care for covers of Dylan's songs, with a few exceptions. But I enjoyed much of the "Amnesty" album, and perhaps it suggests that Dylan's work will survive and be acclaimed. I certainly hope so!


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PostPosted: Tue July 3rd, 2012, 19:12 GMT 
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Dylan is already recognised as the Shakespeare of Rock, contemporary music, call it what you will. No need to wait 175 years for that confirmation. But he's a songwriter, not a playwright or novelist. As such, he's judged in a discipline that demands far fewer words. He's not competing in the same arena as Tolstoy- or Shakespeare. Reputations are made and broken far faster in the world we share today, but Dylan's reputation and legacy are secure for all time. How they stack up against those of Shakespeare and Tolstoy is another matter, though.


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PostPosted: Tue July 3rd, 2012, 23:46 GMT 
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chrome horse wrote:
oldmanemu wrote:
One thing about all this disturbs me slightly . Some of us have posted that they have no doubt Dylan will still be read and talked about centuries from now like Shakespeare etc.
I am not sure if we can be certain of that. Certainly there is now adays an imense volume of his work in print film recordings etc that will most likely be still available in years to come . However I wonder about that .
Over the centuries many popular figures have come and gone andin the end are only known by scholars and hisorians and some who for varios reason have found their work.
In the coming years we will be confronted by ever so many more musicians and poets of varying standards . It will not be easy for us to work out where these artists and those who have gone before them belong.
I think and hope that overt ime many but not all Dylan songs will become part of our rich culture and be regarded as standards and a good representation of the popular culture of our day .
However I am not sure if he will be as highly thought of our discussed as much as he is now.
However if the code is revealed that may alter all of the above !!!


His place in history is already secure - code or no code. The proven universality of his lyrics have made him a worldwide phenomenon and a source of hope for freedom loving people everywhere. Brain dead mutants don't get it, but real people do.

Now yes I do not dis agree with that , but in 400 years maybe only a few songs at a rough guess may have endured and still be sung and discussed .


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PostPosted: Wed July 11th, 2012, 13:55 GMT 

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This may not be all that relevant now but a while back people were saying that even very ordinary short sentences are probably original, suggesting that even such simple phrases that are common to both a Bobsong (or Bobbook) and another source must have been copied. The evidence for this assertion was that such phrases don't turn up on Google. I'm not a Google expert but I am reluctant to accept this as good evidence. I cannot believe that such a simple phrase as "I went to the theatre and saw a show" has never been writen on any blog, article, poem, story or anything else among the billions of pages out there on the internet (and a billion is a VERY large number). I suspect this is more likely to be something about the way Google works.

Just that, and wanting to bump the thread because I think it is very interesting.


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PostPosted: Wed July 11th, 2012, 14:01 GMT 
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I was reading scottw's blog again last night and am more intrigued than ever. Thanks for bumping this. I wish it was in book form. I hate reading on screens. MMD or scottw, get on that please :)


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PostPosted: Wed July 11th, 2012, 20:34 GMT 
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I'm glad to see this thread bumped, too! I also agree with raging_glory that a book is called for--or, perhaps, a magazine article--but, published in such a way that it won't disappear into the cavernous recesses of the interwebs.

And, I'm probably way out of line here, but I'm going to suggest that a mod might want to post it as a sticky?


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PostPosted: Wed July 11th, 2012, 21:24 GMT 
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Hi all. Had an interesting back and forth with Scott Warmuth about his project. I'll post more as soon as soon as I have a few minutes.

I am still holding out for andrea75 and Giada to post some more of their ideas here -- both had suggested they might.


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PostPosted: Wed July 11th, 2012, 23:08 GMT 
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theunwavedhand wrote:
This may not be all that relevant now but a while back people were saying that even very ordinary short sentences are probably original, suggesting that even such simple phrases that are common to both a Bobsong (or Bobbook) and another source must have been copied. The evidence for this assertion was that such phrases don't turn up on Google. I'm not a Google expert but I am reluctant to accept this as good evidence. I cannot believe that such a simple phrase as "I went to the theatre and saw a show" has never been writen on any blog, article, poem, story or anything else among the billions of pages out there on the internet (and a billion is a VERY large number). I suspect this is more likely to be something about the way Google works.


- I agree with that, unwavedhand. I read a while ago..on this thread, or another one with
a similar theme... that a certain common-sounding sentence didn't show up in any search
engine...something like " I got out of bed and opened the window."

- My thought at the time was that if it didn't show up, it is probably because of some
type of glitch in the search engine, rather than the fact that this sentence had never
been written in a published book before.

.. MMD....any information on the subject ?


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PostPosted: Thu July 12th, 2012, 01:21 GMT 
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MMD wrote:

I'll keep this very brief here and say just this:
When our narrator is singing, we start in the present, the words have meaning for us in relation to our current social circumstances (e.g., High Water and September 11th). And we experience the statements of loneliness or anxiety or rebellion in that context. But, when we learn that the narrator is either speaking in Timrod's or Ovid's words, or has been replaced by Timrod or Ovid in the song, if we recognize that shift in narrator, and know the the overall sense of the original poem that the lines come from, and if we know the historical conditions in which the "quoted" lines were written, then we can overlap Ovid's or Timrod's experience as well as all the implications of the Civil War or the collapse of Rome onto our 21st century narrator. Suddenly, Dylan's narrator is telling us that what looks like an ironic or smirking crack about our times is, in combination with the incorporated lines (and the world they bring with them), in fact a statement of a coming catastrophe or of a sense of a deep corruption, or a kind of loneliness that isn't possible to imagine in our times anymore.


A nice example of how being aware of a source can add to the listening experience.

Was listening to Things Have Changed.

When I hear the one line: "Don't get up gentleman, I'm only passing through"--the entire text of A Streetcar Named Desire begins to have a conversation with the rest of the song. A person in an extreme mid-life crisis, Blanche (reflecting the Michael Douglas character in Wonder Boys, with a similar love for escaping through the bottle) is being led away by a kind doctor on her way to the mental institution--she's out of her mind at this point ("people are crazy"), but still putting on the airs of gentility. Tennessee Williams' plays are about sensitive souls that cannot survive the brutality of the world--which crushes the fragile. Williams' characters often attempt to wear the mask or play at a role to cover up or protect vulnerability ("I hurt easy, I just don't show it" and "I'm trying to get as far away from myself as I can.") What "I'm only passing through" means to these "gentleman" at the end of Streetcar as they are playing poker ("you can't win with a losing hand") is different for each--but mostly Blanche's line is met with indifference ("I used to care"). New Orleans, desire, the Tarantula hotel, trains and streetcars--it all happens in the blink of an eye when I hear the line.

("Passing Through" is also a folk song by Dick Blakeslee. Later sung by Pete Seeger for Henry Wallace's 1948 presidential campaign. It was sung for unions and at political rallies (and The Highwaymen, Cisco Houston, Earl Scruggs, Leonard Cohen all later covered it as well). It contains the repeated phrase: "I'm only passing through." The reference conjures up a time and an era when "I used to care, but things have changed.")

There are likely (I have no idea) a number of other lines from the song lifted from other sources. I don't believe these lines are randomly tossed together, drawn from a hat and arranged to rhyme. But I don't think that knowing the references is at all essential. The feeling and meaning of Things Have Changed comes through whether I know Streetcar or not (or the folk song). But for me it can make the listening experience richer.


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PostPosted: Thu July 12th, 2012, 01:33 GMT 
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John B. Stetson wrote:
MMD wrote:

I'll keep this very brief here and say just this:
When our narrator is singing, we start in the present, the words have meaning for us in relation to our current social circumstances (e.g., High Water and September 11th). And we experience the statements of loneliness or anxiety or rebellion in that context. But, when we learn that the narrator is either speaking in Timrod's or Ovid's words, or has been replaced by Timrod or Ovid in the song, if we recognize that shift in narrator, and know the the overall sense of the original poem that the lines come from, and if we know the historical conditions in which the "quoted" lines were written, then we can overlap Ovid's or Timrod's experience as well as all the implications of the Civil War or the collapse of Rome onto our 21st century narrator. Suddenly, Dylan's narrator is telling us that what looks like an ironic or smirking crack about our times is, in combination with the incorporated lines (and the world they bring with them), in fact a statement of a coming catastrophe or of a sense of a deep corruption, or a kind of loneliness that isn't possible to imagine in our times anymore.


A nice example of how being aware of a source can add to the listening experience.

Was listening to Things Have Changed.

When I hear the one line: "Don't get up gentleman, I'm only passing through"--the entire text of A Streetcar Named Desire begins to have a conversation with the rest of the song. A person in an extreme mid-life crisis, Blanche (reflecting the Michael Douglas character in Wonder Boys, with a similar love for escaping through the bottle) is being led away by a kind doctor on her way to the mental institution--she's out of her mind at this point ("people are crazy"), but still putting on the airs of gentility. Tennessee Williams' plays are about sensitive souls that cannot survive the brutality of the world--which crushes the fragile. Williams' characters often attempt to wear the mask or play at a role to cover up or protect vulnerability ("I hurt easy, I just don't show it" and "I'm trying to get as far away from myself as I can.") What "I'm only passing through" means to these "gentleman" at the end of Streetcar as they are playing poker ("you can't win with a losing hand") is different for each--but mostly Blanche's line is met with indifference ("I used to care"). New Orleans, desire, the Tarantula hotel, trains and streetcars--it all happens in the blink of an eye when I hear the line.

("Passing Through" is also a folk song by Dick Blakeslee. Later sung by Pete Seeger for Henry Wallace's 1948 presidential campaign. It was sung for unions and at political rallies (and The Highwaymen, Cisco Houston, Earl Scruggs, Leonard Cohen all later covered it as well). It contains the repeated phrase: "I'm only passing through." The reference conjures up a time and an era when "I used to care, but things have changed.")

There are likely (I have no idea) a number of other lines from the song lifted from other sources. I don't believe these lines are randomly tossed together, drawn from a hat and arranged to rhyme. But I don't think that knowing the references is at all essential. The feeling and meaning of Things Have Changed comes through whether I know Streetcar or not (or the folk song). But for me it can make the listening experience richer.

I wonder if it is intended on Dylan's part or just coincidence.


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PostPosted: Thu July 12th, 2012, 01:36 GMT 
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I suspect a lot is just coincidence. The intention, is plucking a line from a moment of A Streetcar Named Desire which feels just like what's happening in the song. The other stuff comes along for the ride. I can't imagine Dylan thinks all this stuff through.


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PostPosted: Thu July 12th, 2012, 02:34 GMT 

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thanks for your comments stetson- i found that interesting.

i also just wanted to bring up something bob dylan wrote one time regarding books about him. you can judge for yourself whether it's sarcastic or not i guess . i took it as a way of him saying he was fed up with it all- i don't know why i took it that way. (i am not writing any books or articles... not that i could) :)

bob dylan wrote:
Everybody knows by now that there's a gazillion books on me either out or coming out in the near future. So I'm encouraging anybody who's ever met me, heard me or even seen me, to get in on the action and scribble their own book. You never know, somebody might have a great book in them.


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PostPosted: Thu July 12th, 2012, 03:04 GMT 
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^
It's quite possible he thinks it's all pretty silly. It is, kind of.


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PostPosted: Thu July 12th, 2012, 05:22 GMT 
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^^
JB,
Whenever I see these quotes in which Dylan appears to be slagging off people who interpret his music, I see multiple things:
1) The general sense that most artists I have known, or read about, have that they themselves don't know what their art means...exactly, in a strict sense. My own minor experiences with art making confirm that. It's intuition, feeling, some real planning and intention, and then a lot of Fortune's hand. It might mean a lot of things to me, it might not "mean" or I might not "intend" anything in particular. When critics (including me, obviously) make strong claims about the meaning of a piece of art, there is a kind of silliness to it if we don't accept that we all know it is an interpretation among other possible interpretations. There are more convincing, more complete, more rich interpretations. And then there are historical and technical facts. An artist, like Dylan, can be excused if he feels the theories about his work can be a little too self-assured.

2) Then I think there is another common phenomenon: sometimes critics just get it dead wrong. THey make claims that they pass off as true regarding the art work and the artist's intent, but the artist knows they are wrong, absurd. Because Dylan has been the subject of many, many books and articles for pop-cultural consumption (and $) by people who aren't always deeply trained in art critical work, he's seen more than his fair share of naive, if well-intentioned, stuff circulating about him in the main stream that make kind of absolute, totalizing claims about the meaning of his work. A more savvy critic or more thoughtful scholar would be more likely to acknowledge the limits of any reading.

However, I don't think that he would be averse to, or find ridiculous, people taking his work seriously -- understanding his sources, treating his lyrics as poetic (if not poetry as such), etc. He surely has made it clear that he thinks he is making sophisticated, historically important work.

Which brings me to the third thing I think he might mean in these lines about interpreters:

3) That critics and scholars haven't got it right yet. That they underestimate him or approach him in the wrong way.

He has hired Wilentz and Brinkley to write about him. He did the radio show in which he included a number of songs that are sources for his music and lyrics. Chronicles is a kind of crazy dare, provocation and manifesto about his art. He clearly has some sense that he deserves to be treated as some kind of serious artist rather than as disposable popular entertainment.

Finally, I really like your reading of Things Have Changed. Hard to avoid the pun...things have changed for me with the song. Yep, couldn't be avoided.

And you are dead right: it is not crucial to enjoying or making sense of the song to know that Streetcar is an intertext for it. I really enjoyed the lyrics to that song prior to reading your post. But now, knowing what you've laid out, it sure makes it more interesting.

Thanks for taking the time to post that.


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