Popular Music History, Vol 8, No 2 (2013)

Borders and lines: seeing and imagining in Dylan

Robert McColl
Issued Date: 20 May 2014

Abstract


In ‘Borders and lines: seeing and imaging in Dylan’, I expound on a contrast in Dylan’s work between a passive, static imaging, and an active, ephemeral seeing. Drawing on three examples, ‘Idiot Wind’, ‘Girl from the North Country’ and ‘Down the Highway’, I show that, while each song is wary of the encapsulation of image, ‘Idiot Wind’ attempts, in Ginsberg’s terms, to ‘exorcise’ it, while the earlier songs favour discontinuation, hence their economy. This also has ramifications for how Dylan depicts America. Relating the enclosure of the page to the enclosure of nation (‘Borders and Lines’), I argue that Dylan typically resists such prescriptions, via an emphasis on seeing out, rather than in or over.

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DOI: 10.1558/pomh.v8i2.126

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