Is there any writer or performer more haunting – and
more haunted – than Bob Dylan? We recognize his songs,
his vision, his inventiveness, hispoetry, and especially his
distinctive voice nearly everywhere: in music and film,
popular culture and politics, global protest movements
and intimate moments of self-reflection. As he now turns
eighty, it’s a shock to realize that, for most us, Dylan has
always been there, singing, touring, laughing, snarling,
and sometimes even hawking whiskey and underwear.
Like the members of the Nobel committee that awarded him the world’s most
important cultural prize, we know he is a vastly influential artist. But which Dylan is it?
The folk-singing activist who shared the stage with Dr. King at the March on
Washington? The rocker in Ray Bans and a leather jacket who faced down hostile
crowds by ordering his band to “play it ****ing loud?” Is it the country boy who went
to Nashville and befriended Johnny Cash? Or the Beat-inspired hipster who took to the
road with a ramshackle medicine show? The Christian convert? The brilliant curator of
folk and blues? The Sinatra-inspired crooner? Or the weary old man who’s “standin’ in
the doorway cryin’”? Sean Latham, the introduction of The World of Bob Dylan
The book chronicles Dylan’s lifetime of creative invention that has left a mark all over the world.
Renowned rock and pop critics and music scholars address themes such as the Blues, Dylan’s Religious Faith, Civil Rights, Gender, Race, and American and World Literature.