American Collections blog

06 October 2011

Robert Zimmerman goes to Oslo?


If the bookies know anything, then the news from Oslo this year may be that Robert Zimmerman, also known as Bob Dylan, will receive the Nobel Prize in Literature (the other candidates are Haruki Murakami, Tomas Tranströmer and the front runner, Adunis ).  If the DJ, painter, songwriter and performer does receive the honour, we suspect it won't be for the novel shown above (here in bootleg form at YA.1997.b.4195), nor for the more crafted volume of memoirs, but for the poetry/lyrics that Christopher Ricks has famously compared to Keats (cf. his Visions of Sin).

There's a good bit in the memoirs about Zimmerman's early move to New York, where he became Dylan, and the hours he spent in the New York Public Library, reading and rereading microfilmed copies of Civil War and other nineteenth-century American newspapers.  The language, the stories, and the breadth of life contained in these records of Americana surely animates many of the songs in the Dylan songbook.  If you are a registered British Library reader you can read many of these newspapers outside of the Library, thanks to the internet and the Remote e-Resources we are able to offer at present.

Dylan also makes several appearances in our Beats Bibliography.



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