In 2013, Milne Library published an essay by SUNY Geneseo Professor Emeritus Eugene Stelzig titled “Bob Dylan’s Career as a Blakean Visionary and Romantic.”
Upon the occasion of Dylan’s being awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in literature, this might well be worth another look. Free PDF and ePub versions are available, and you can buy a print version from Amazon.com.
“Bob Dylan’s Career as a Blakean Visionary and Romantic” was completed in 1976 as an invited contribution to a volume of academic and scholarly essays on Dylan to be published by the Popular Press and edited by Patrick Morrow. After the volume was accepted and the publication contract was signed, the Popular Press reneged on the agreement, apparently because it felt the volume would fall between the cracks: Dylan’s popular fan base would not be interested in a book of academic articles, and academics would not be interested in a pop culture idol. Obviously things have changed considerably in the intervening decades!
This discussion—written almost four decades ago—of the deep affinities between Dylan’s song poetry and the Romantics, especially William Blake, is one of the early “scholarly” as opposed to popular appreciations of Dylan’s art and his oeuvre from his first album up to and including Desire (1976).
According to Stelzig,
“The piece has led a sort of underground life for decades in the wake of Robert Shelton listing it in the bibliography of his biography of Dylan, so I’m delighted that Milne Library is making it available and easily accessible to anyone.”
We previously announced this publication in the Open Access resources via SUNY Open Textbooks.