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Highway 61 Revisited

Bob Dylan’s Road from Minnesota to the World

Colleen J. Sheehy

Publication Year: 2009

The young man from Hibbing released Highway 61 Revisited in 1965, and the rest, as they say, is history. Or is it? From his roots in Hibbing, to his rise as a cultural icon in New York, to his prominence on the worldwide stage, Colleen J. Sheehy and Thomas Swiss bring together the most eminent Dylan scholars at work today—as well as people from such far-reaching fields as labor history, African American studies, and Japanese studies—to assess Dylan’s career, influences, and his global impact on music and culture. The Dylan effect has extended far beyond the United States in recent decades, and the essays here analyze his contribution to the people and cultures of the United Kingdom, Italy, and Japan. With a special focus on his Minnesota roots, including Greil Marcus’s spectacular tour of Dylan’s hometown, authors also take into account his most recent work and Martin Scorsese’s documentary No Direction Home. The first cultural and historical geography of his dramatic rise, storied career, and unmatched iconic status, Highway 61 Revisited maps the terrain of Bob Dylan’s music in the world. Contributors: John Barner, U of Georgia; Daphne Brooks, Princeton U; Court Carney, Stephen F. Austin State U; Alessandro Carrera, U of Houston; Michael Cherlin, U of Minnesota; Marilyn J. Chiat; Susan Clayton; Mick Cochrane, Canisius College; Thomas Crow, New York U; Kevin J. H. Dettmar, Pomona College, Carbondale; Sumanth Gopinath, U of Minnesota; Charles Hughes; C. P. Lee, U of Salford, Manchester, England; Alex Lubet, U of Minnesota; Greil Marcus, U of California, Berkeley; Aldon Lynn Nielsen, Pennsylvania State U; Roberto Polito, The New School; Robert Reginio, Frostburg State U; Heather Stur, U of Southern Mississippi; Mikiko Tachi, Chiba U, Japan; Gayle Wald, George Washington U; Anne Waldman, Naropa U; David Yaffe, Syracuse U.

Published by: University of Minnesota Press


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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Quote

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pp. vii-x

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Colleen J. Sheehy, John Barner, Thomas Swiss

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pp. xi-xxiv

In Todd Haynes’s film I’m Not There (2007), two of the characters who play oblique versions of Bob Dylan—Billy the Kid (Richard Gere) and a young (black) Woody Guthrie (Marcus Carl Franklin)—converge in the small frontier town of Riddle, Missouri. ...

Part 1. Highway 61, From North to South

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1. Hibbing High School and “the Mystery of Democracy”

Greil Marcus

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pp. 3-14

Those are the first words of “Ain’t Talkin’,” the last song on Bob Dylan’s Modern Times, released in the fall of 2006. It’s a great opening line for anything: a song, a tall tale, a fable, a novel, a soliloquy. The world opens at the feet of that line. How one gets there—to the point where those words can take on their true authority, ...

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2. Jewish Homes on the Range, 1890–1960

Marilyn J. Chiat

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pp. 15-24

Robert Allen Zimmerman was born at St. Mary’s Hospital in Duluth, Minnesota, on May 24, 1941, to Beatrice and Abraham Zimmerman, children of Yiddish-speaking Orthodox Jewish immigrants who had fled persecution in eastern Europe. Their families were among the nearly two and half million Jews who arrived in the United States between 1881 and 1924, when immigration closed. ...

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3. Not from Nowhere: Identity and Aspiration in Bob Dylan’s Hometown

Susan Clayton

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pp. 25-38

In his Bob Dylan biography No Direction Home, Robert Shelton ponders the similarities between the storefronts of downtown Hibbing, Minnesota, and Sinclair Lewis’s fictional Gopher Prairie.1 As a native of Hibbing myself, I have always thought that if Carol Kennicott had stepped off the train there in the early twentieth century, she would have found plenty of willing participants in her cosmopolitan under takings. ...

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4. “A Lamp Is Burning in All Our Dark”: Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash

Court Carney

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pp. 39-43

In the spring of 1969, in the midst of the loud, psychedelic rejection of tradition and convention, Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash joined forces at the establishmentarian epicenter of country music: Ryman Auditorium. The two singers stepped onto the stage with the seemingly obvious agenda of rehearsing a few songs for Cash’s new television program. ...

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5. Allowed to Be Free: Bob Dylan and the Civil Rights Movement

Charles Hughes

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pp. 44-60

On October 16, 1992, three weeks before election day, Stevie Wonder took the stage at the Bob Dylan Thirtieth Anniversary Celebration to revisit the song that in 1966 gave him a number one rhythm-and-blues hit. His fingers striking stately gospel chords, Wonder introduced “Blowin’ in the Wind” with personal, historical testimony: ...

Part 2. Planet Waves

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6. Lives of Allegory: Bob Dylan and Andy Warhol

Thomas Crow

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pp. 63-77

Bob Dylan’s British tour in May 1965 had given him his first real taste of pop-star adulation, both in terms of ecstatically adoring crowds and record sales that thrust his older albums simultaneously into the UK top twenty—a phenomenon that reverberated back to America but without the same degree of chart success.1 ...

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7. Like the Night: Reception and Reaction Dylan UK 1966

C. P. Lee

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pp. 78-83

In 1956 film director John Huston wanted the sea shanties for his epic movie Moby Dick to be as authentic as possible. To create that authenticity, he selected a former whaling man, singer, and political activist called A. L. “Bert” Lloyd to be his adviser. ...

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8. Oh, the Streets of Rome: Dylan in Italy

Alessandro Carrera

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pp. 84-105

My purpose in this essay is to illustrate the impact Dylan had on Italy and the impact Italy had on Dylan. I begin with an assessment of Dylan’s trip(s) to Rome at the start of 1963. In January, while he was in Rome, he performed at the Folkstudio Club and traveled to Perugia in search of his girlfriend Suze Rotolo. ...

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9. Bob Dylan’s Reception in Japan in the 1960s and 1970s

Mikiko Tachi

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pp. 106-121

Since the mid-1960s, Bob Dylan has enjoyed a strong presence in Japan, and today he has followers among people of different ages. Many musicians and artists credit Dylan for inspiration. On October 9, 2006, for example, Japanese rock musician Koji Wakui organized a concert and talk show in tribute to Dylan to celebrate the release of Modern Times. ...

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10. Borderless Troubadour: Bob Dylan’s Influence on International Protest during the Cold War

Heather Stur

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pp. 122-130

Alone onstage, the singer strummed his guitar and sang a song about a woman’s reaction to war: “I have two hands free / I have two lips free / All the men have died / And I forget the human language.”1 In the audience, composed primarily of college students, several young women wept. ...

Part 3. The Ancients, Whom All Moderns Prize

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11. Bob Dylan’s Lives of the Poets: Theme Time Radio Hour as Buried Autobiography

Mick Cochrane

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pp. 133-139

In 1777, Samuel Johnson was approached by a committee of booksellers to write biographical prefaces to the works of forty-seven poets whose writing they hoped to present to readers in a new popular edition.1 At the time, by the acknowledgment of his contemporaries, Johnson, in his sixties, possessed an unmatched command of English literature. ...

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12. Bob Dylan’s Memory Palace

Robert Polito

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pp. 140-153

You could call them “covers,” these invocations of poems and novels that Dylan slips into his songs on recent recordings, and the collections are effortlessly retitled: Bob Dylan Sings the Exile Poems of Publius Ovividius Naso, Henry Timrod Revisited, Ovid on Ovid, Live from the Black Sea, and From Twain to Fitzgerald: Nobody Sings Studies in Classic American Literature Better Than Dylan. ...

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13. Among Schoolchildren: Dylan’s Forty Years in the Classroom

Kevin J. H. Dettmar

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pp. 154-166

“Dylanology,” the cynics call it, and if there is any doubt that the serious study of Bob Dylan’s work and legacy continues at an astonishing pace, the publication of this volume more or less simultaneously with The Cambridge Companion to Bob Dylan, which I am editing, should put all doubts to rest. ...

Part 4. In a Voice without Restraint

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14. Women Do Dylan: The Aesthetics and Politics of Dylan Covers

Daphne Brooks, Gayle Wald

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pp. 169-185

Any music wonk will tell you that Bob Dylan persists as a revered if surprisingly confounding racial trickster in popular music culture. His recordings must surely beckon thoughtful rereadings that take into account the politics of cultural appropriation and racial masquerade. Dylan would himself seem to be continuously beckoning this kind of scrutiny. ...

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15. Crow Jane Approximately: Bob Dylan’s Black Masque

Aldon Lynn Nielsen

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pp. 186-196

“He speaks in your voice, American.”1 These are the opening words to Don DeLillo’s novel Underworld. In sorting through these slippery pronouns, we soon learn that the “he” who speaks in our voice is a black adolescent. This might have been surprising to many in the Hibbing, Minnesota, of Dylan’s youth, the time of the novel’s opening, ...

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16. Not Dark Yet: How Bob Dylan Got His Groove Back

David Yaffe

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pp. 197-212

June 7, 2004, was not just another gig for Bob Dylan. Sandwiching a show between one-nighters in Atlantic City and Delaware, Dylan went uptown to play the Apollo Theater, the legendary venue where Ella Fitzgerald passed the audition for the Chick Webb orchestra, and where, on a 1962 live album, James Brown made a gig in Harlem a chart-topping soundtrack for the world. ...

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17. “Nettie Moore”: Minstrelsy and the Cultural Economy of Race in Bob Dylan’s Late Albums

Robert Regini

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pp. 213-224

A particularly fascinating “controversy” surrounding Bob Dylan’s 2006 album Modern Times was the discovery that Dylan has been since at least 2001’s “Love and Theft” a concerted borrower from the poetry of Henry Timrod, the “Poet Laureate of the Confederacy.”1 ...

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18. “Somewhere down in the United States”: The Art of Bob Dylan’s Ventriloquism

Michael Cherlin, Sumanth Gopinath

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pp. 225-236

That Bob Dylan has many voices will be an idea familiar to all readers who have followed his musical career. The wise country singer of the early recordings, the sneering hipster of the first electric phase, the weirdly rounded country voice after the “motorcycle accident,” the gruff, dejected old man of recent years—these voices are inseparable from the many style shifts in Dylan’s singing persona over the years. ...

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19. Dylan/Disabled: Tolling for the Deaf and Blind

Alex Lubet

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pp. 237-248

This contemplation of the work of Bob Dylan from the perspective of disability studies is not primarily a consideration of lyrics, though Dylan often references disability, freakery, and “old, weird” social outcasts.1 It is not primarily biographical and certainly does not brand Dylan disabled, something rarely done in disability studies, ...

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20. Bob Dylan and the Beats: Magpie Poetics, an Investigation and Memoir

Anne Waldman

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pp. 249-260

I invoke “magpie poetics” in this investigative memoir as a way of understanding Bob Dylan’s extraordinary creativity. He took what he needed from multiple places and sources—literary, musical, cultural—which included influences from and references to the Beat literary generation writers, particularly the works of Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. ...

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pp. 261-262

The editors thank Doug Armato, director of the University of Minnesota Press, who recognized the value of bringing this new work on Dylan to a wide readership after the March 2007 Dylan symposium at the University of Minnesota. ...


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pp. 263-266


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pp. 267-278

E-ISBN-13: 9780816668182
E-ISBN-10: 0816668183
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816661008

Page Count: 312
Publication Year: 2009

OCLC Number: 527798857
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Highway 61 Revisited

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Subject Headings

  • Dylan, Bob, 1941-.
  • Dylan, Bob, 1941- -- Criticism and interpretation.
  • Rock music -- History and criticism.
  • Singers -- United States -- Biography.
  • Hibbing (Minn.) -- History.
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