A Classics Professor Explains 'Why Bob Dylan Matters'

Harvard professor Richard F. Thomas teaches a popular class on the importance of Bob Dylan, and now he's turned it into a book, full of stories, personal history and the occasional comparison to Ovid.
'Why Bob Dylan Matters' by Richard Thomas Source: Claire Harbage

Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016 set off howls of indignation across the literary spectrum. Everyone from bloggers to bestsellers weighed in on why Dylan — while universally acknowledged to be one of the greatest songwriters of all time — had no place in the pantheon alongside Faulkner, Hemingway, and Beckett. Dylan's refusal to travel to Stockholm to accept the award in person only fanned the flames of resentment and bewilderment.

But plenty of defenders is based on that class.

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