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Bob Dylan’s 1960s Albums and the Beat Generation


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Roša, Erika. (2014). Bob Dylan’s 1960s Albums and the Beat Generation. Diploma Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of English Language and Literature. [mentor Cvek, Sven].

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The aim of this paper is to show the connections between the Beat Generation and Bob Dylan’s folk and electric phases, focusing mainly on the interaction between the songwriter’s albums and Allen Ginsberg’s collection Howl. In the analysis of the folk phase and the beatnik’s collection of poems, the paper approaches the two writers’ personae of the poet-prophet. Both Ginsberg and Dylan sang to and about the other side of American society within the context of the Cold War, and as Dylan started to move away from the folk movement, he got closer to Ginsberg’s shared vision of the sublime and more poetic and impressionistic language. When it comes to the electric phase, the analysis includes the presence of Beat themes in Dylan’s lyrics; the songwriter’s turn towards surrealism and Dadaism that came through the Beat movement and that includes surrealist wordplay and Dada defamiliarization; and finally, the presence of Ginsberg’s breath-based lines in Dylan’s singing style. Moreover, the analysis of poems and lyrics is preceded by a brief overview of different approaches to Dylan’s canon, which asserts Dylan’s borderline position between poetry and music. The paper follows contemporary criticism’s insistence on viewing Dylan’s lyrics as songs, not poems, and its acknowledgment of other non-verbal elements present in the complexity of musical albums that must be taken into consideration when interpreting Bob Dylan’s works.

Item Type: Diploma Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bob Dylan, Beat Generation, Allen Ginsberg, poet-prophet, folk music, electric trilogy, surrealism, Dadaism, breath unit
Subjects: English language and literature
Departments: Department of English Language and Literature
Supervisor: Cvek, Sven
Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2015 11:23
Last Modified: 01 Apr 2015 11:23

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