Bob Dylan


“Tangled Up in Blue,” live

Today is Bob Dylan‘s birthday (born 1941).

Frye alluded to Dylan on a number of occasions.  Here in a 1969 interview he cites Dylan to illustrate how popular culture has facilitated the teaching of literary criticism:

I think that in our day the communications gap between seriousness and lightness is breaking down… And I found in my teaching of literature that a person who knows folk singers like Bob Dylan or the Mothers of Invention has far less difficulty with symbols in poetry.  Twenty years ago you had to teach students the language of symbolism which they often just refused to learn.  Nowadays young people know that language.  (CW 24, 110)

And here, ten years later, he responds to the suggestion that it is “ludicrous that people like Bob Dylan are considered poets”:

Oh, I think Bob Dylan is a poet.  I am quite interested in the folk-song idiom as a poetic idiom.  It’s a revival of an oral tradition in poetry which disappeared for centuries.  Poetry got too badly bogged down with books, and I think it’s a very healthy thing when poetry becomes something that can be recited to an audience with a musical background.  (CW 24, 474)

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