“I Don’t Do Sketches from Memory”: Bob Dylan and Autobiography

  • Emily O. Wittman
  • Paul R. Wright
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Music and Literature book series (PASTMULI)


Emily O. Wittman and Paul R. Wright’s chapter negotiates the fact that “when we theorize Dylan’s relationship to autobiography—whether in his songs, in his interviews, or in his ostensibly real memoir, Chronicles (2004)—we must turn away from traditional categories.” Noting the frustrations in tracking “a linear narrative about Dylan’s past and revelations of soul-searching and private moments,” Wittman and Wright contend that it is in “alternative forms of life-writing”—such as songs/lyrics—that pieces of Dylan’s life can best be located. Via an analysis of Dylan’s various “autobiographical” works, Wittman and Wright conclude that even while working explicitly with autobiography as a genre (in Chronicles), Dylan turns “the logic of the Bildungsroman on its head” and establishes “The autobiography as song fragment. The life as lyric.”


Bob Dylan Autobiography Chronicles Augustine Rousseau Narrative 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emily O. Wittman
    • 1
  • Paul R. Wright
    • 2
  1. 1.The University of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA
  2. 2.Cabrini UniversityRadnorUSA

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