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Thursday, 7 November, 2002, 13:12 GMT
Book's tribute to Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan
The book likens Dylan to Emerson and Whitman
The latest tribute to the legendary singer and songwriter Bob Dylan has come from a group of academics.

A collection of 14, specially comissioned critical essays has just been published.

'Do You, Mr Jones?' Bob Dylan with the Poets and Professors has been put together by Professor Neil Corcoran of St Andrews University in Fife.

"Leonard Cohen rightly called Bob Dylan 'the Picasso of Song"' said Professor Corcoran.

Bob Dylan
'Dylan' may have been a tribute to Dylan Thomas
"Dylan is an extraordinary lyricist, with a variety of styles, modes, and procedures.

"It makes his work as complex and compelling as that of gifted poets of the printed page."

It is the first time that a collection of such essays has been commissioned.

It combines critical responses from academics including Prof Corcoran's colleague, Prof Nicholas Roe, Prof Aidan Day and poets Paul Muldoon, Lavinia Greenlaw, and Simon Armitage.

Topics examined in the essays include Dylan's humour, his literal and spiritual journeys, his "uncompromising" honesty and the "last words" of his songs.

Prof. Neil Corcoran
Prof Corcoran has been a fan for 40 years
Approaches range from the highly personal and autobiographical to the comparative and analytical.

The writers explore both what Dylan has meant intellectually and artistically to individuals and to his life and times.

While acknowledging that Dylan prefers to see himself as a "trapeze artist" rather than a poet, the book suggests that his apparent anti-intellectualism belongs to an American intellectual tradition.

Remarkable qualities

It includes Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, and Allen Ginsberg.

Bob Dylan was born Robert Zimmerman.

It has been said the spelling of his adopted stage name 'Dylan' was in homage to Dylan Thomas.

Dylan's work is said to be influenced by the poetry of, among others, Allen Ginsberg, T.S. Eliot, and Arthur Rimbaud.

Prof Corcoran, of St Andrews University's School of English, is the author of critically-acclaimed books on Irish literature, particularly 'The Poetry of Seamus Heaney'.

He has been fascinated by Dylan's work for 40 years.

He said: "One of Dylan's most remarkable qualities is his persistent metamorphosis.

"He never stops experimenting and evolving new styles and manners.

"That 'never-ending journey' of artistic redefinition, like his perennial tour of the same name, commands huge respect and stimulates debate.

"I hope the book reflects that by being rigorous and challenging, serious but deeply appreciative,' he said.

See also:

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