Introduction: The Foreign Sounds of Dylan’s Literary Art

  • Josh Toth
  • Nduka Otiono
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Music and Literature book series (PASTMULI)


This introduction summarizes the book’s contents while focusing on the way in which Dylan’s work tends to provoke an odd and striking anxiety about the nature, or finite boundaries, of the literary—an anxiety that became ever more apparent in the days that followed the announcement of his Nobel win. In tracking this anxiety (and comparing it to an eighteenth-century anxiety about the novel), the chapter explores Dylan’s early rejections of musical and literary traditions in the light of his Nobel lecture—a lecture that paradoxically ties his work to traditional forms of literature (i.e., works by Shakespeare, Melville, Homer, etc.). At the same time, the chapter looks to Mikhail Bakhtin’s concept of polyvocality as a way of understanding Dylan’s often contradictory aesthetic gestures.


Bob Dylan Nobel Polyvocality Novelistic Literature 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Josh Toth
    • 1
  • Nduka Otiono
    • 2
  1. 1.MacEwan UniversityEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.Institute of African StudiesCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada

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