Is It Rolling, Bob? Talking Dylan: James Shapiro


And so going back to think twice you were talking about about more about the writing. Yeah and it's something that I didn't know enough about until I was invited onto your program. But what are the things that interest me about? Shakespeare is the fact that you know. He wrote thirty six so plays that we know of and almost none of them may be. The tempest may be midsummer. Night's dream are his original story but for the most part Shakespeare was not interested in creating a new story. He looked around at the stories others had told whether they were Italian. Novellas or English plays or history's any thought I understand what's slightly off for not really fulfilled in this version older version and he did what architects call a gut renovation. He kept the frame and he just cleared out the inside and made it is. Oh so when Dylan writes. Don't think twice. He knows Paul Clayton Song. Who's going to buy you ribbons? When I'm gone? He worked with Klay knew who sadly killed himself in in one thousand nine hundred sixty seven. Eight toward together collaborated a little bit and I'm sure that there is kind of cross pollination if you will between Clayton Song. And and don't think twice and dillon with a little techy from what. I've learned about that you know he said I steal the word a or the word so whether we're done you know Ed is a good question. Although he was a little defensive even steal those words but he is reaching into a tradition a tradition that goes further back than Clayton to. What I learned was an African American Song that circulated in Virginia. Who's GonNa Bring you chickens? So what we're talking about. Our traditions and Shakespeare comes out of traditions. Really in very similar ways. To how Dylan does and plagiarism is. A useless category the only useful category. Can you take something old and make it speak to the moment? In a way that makes people feel connected to that song ways. Nobody has ever felt connected to it in dealing did that for me. I think I'm right in saying and correct me. If I'm not the Sean Wilentz I think wrote a book called Bob Dylan and America. And he I believe explored this notion and said you know what it's Alchemy. What he's doing is he's taking base matters and is creating something new out of it that shines and I thought that was really damage. It is in trouble. Lens is A friend and a very smart guy and I think he wrote brilliantly about about Dylan. Christopher ricks did as well They're just a people recognize. That is work rises to the level of seriousness. And it is how chemical it is a transformation but for me. It's really the lack of thoughtfulness beyond the magic of the transformation and the thoughtfulness I suppose has to do with. I see what's not there. That's a hard thing to to grasp and Shakespeare was really good at it. Didn't create the story of Hamlet. He didn't create the story King. Lear those were all plays bouncing around in the stage. You probably acted in a spear holder when he was young. He's onstage they could. God I can write this great Soliloquy at this point or I could tweak it in this way. And maybe it's not occurring Bob Dylan in a cerebral way. But it's occurring to him in a way that lets them know. Yeah I. I know the folk he sang exists but that song is dead on arrival. Something has to be done to reanimated and I suppose it's as much Raising the data's alchemy. And where do you think Dylan? Shakespeare intersect particularly? I think oddly even though four hundred years or so separates their birth. They both products of a similar education system. You know it's it's remarkable if you listened to to Dylan's account of education in his Nobel lecture in two thousand Seventeen. He talks a lot of doubt grammar. School you know. He learned things in Grammar School. The devices techniques secret mysteries whatever. He's talking about. He talks about gullivers travel. Dickins Don Quixote all these stories and of course we know he had a great teacher in school. Who taught him the poetry John Donovan? The poetry plays of Shakespeare so shakespeare learn what he learned in Grammar School. I mean this is a Western tradition that span than in now and both of them sat there probably frustrated probably demise racing as they were exposed to this stuff and taking it all in and a decade later or or ten years later figuring out how to turn this into into gold if you will and I mean that both literally and figuratively because you have to make money as an artist or like pulled claim you can end up desperate and suicidal and both of them figured out how to do that. And if you think you know as a thought experiment Dylan or Shakespeare Been Born twenty years earlier or twenty years later whatever genius they had could not have been fully rely so yes. They were both remarkable artists but they had great luck in being born at what they recognize. Both of them were pivotal moments in in their culture in the arts in the possibilities that were now available to young

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