|To: JakeStraw who wrote (2129)||7/9/2003 9:49:48 AM|
|From: MulhollandDrive||Read Replies (1) | Respond to of 2657|
|been perusing the web for reaction to this cnn article... i think the writer of the cnn.com article owes this guy a royalty fee, though it doesn't mention saga by name, by gosh i think he lifted the idea for the story! <g>...but it's been fun watching the pseudo- spiritualpsychintelltectual posers <redundant, i know> come out of the woodwork to bemoan their fallen idol|
paraphrasing something i heard before, someone else said it i know...
"aint' nothing new under the sun"
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Bob Dylan's loving thievery
By Geoff McMaster
February 4, 2003 – Bob Dylan often walks a fine line between plagiarism and allusion, and therein lies his genius.
That was the conclusion of Dylan biographer and former University of Alberta professor Dr. Stephen Scobie at a unique symposium sponsored by the English Department two weeks ago. Scobie, a celebrated poet in his own right, demonstrated the myriad ways in which Bob Dylan unabashedly weaves an intertext of quotations in many of his lyrics.
Pointing to a song--High Water (for Charley Patton)--from Dylan's 2001 release, "Love and Theft", Scobie noted that the song included more than a dozen quotations from sources as varied as English Nursury Rhymes, African-American Blues, an obscure 1950s pop song, and even Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. In some instances, whole lines and even couplets are lifted verbatim from the source.
The title of the album itself, "Love and Theft", deliberately set in quotation marks on the CD cover, can be seen as Dylan's acknowledgment that songwriting intensely engages with both acts.
"Dylan takes the whole idea of love and theft very seriously," says Scobie. "He loves the stuff, but also unashamedly steals it." You could call it post-modern intertextuality, or "good old-fashioned plagiarism," says Scobie. "At what point does allusion become quotation or become theft?"
But the result, at least under the stroke of Dylan's pen, is a dazzling and evocative tapestry. The song becomes more suggestive, opens up more thematic directions, upon each listening. And, Scobie asks, what act of writing isn't on some level an act of theft anyway?
Scobie has spent enough time with Dylan's lyrics, with the tradition of English literature, and with the "love and theft" of writing poetry to know. He's written two books on Dylan, one a critical work called Alias Bob Dylan (soon to be re-released), and one a poem sequence called And Forget My Name: A Speculative Biography of Bob Dylan. The University of Victoria English professor has also won the Governor General's Award for McAlmon's Chinese Opera.
Since Scobie was on campus as external examiner for a doctoral defense, the English department's visiting speaker chair, Dr. Ted Bishop, thought it would be the perfect opportunity to snag him for a talk in the Culture on the Edge lecture series.
"What I'm trying to do with all of these is to arrange talks of interest to a wider community than just honours English students, or indeed students from the Faculty of Arts," says Bishop. Previous talks have taken up The Sopranos television series and motorcycle culture.
The Dylan talk was held at Fiore's Cantina on 109th St. to provide some distance from the sometimes stifling environment of academia, says Bishop. "The idea is to try and take something into the community; people have a different kind of discussion when they are off campus."
Bishop also invited local CKUA announcer, musician Lionel Rault to play a few Dylan songs and talk about Dylan's influence on his own songwriting. Rault pointed out that Dylan's borrowing of material is an organic feature of both the blues and folk music traditions in North America. Indeed, many blues artists would just add a single verse, or even just one line, to a song in circulation and call it their own, he said.
"Bob was also messing around with the persona of the beat poet, and it was a very attractive combination of things," said Rault, recalling his own early days as a professional musician hugely influenced by the master songwriter.
"I went right down that lost highway as quickly as I could get there after I heard Bob Dylan doing it."