"i would want to be bach mozart toistoy, joe hill, gertrude stein or james dean they are all dead." Bob Dylan wrote on the back of Bringing It All Back Home Dylan has long demanded to be accepted for what he is. And Christopher Ricks, professor of English the Winthrop House Junior Common Room two weeks ago that the academic establishment has began to listen to him seriously.
Ricks comes to America with a long list of academic achievements. At the age of 28 a tender one for a literary critic, he wrote Milton's Grand Style which his remained a seminal work in the field of Milton criticism. His subsequent studies of Keafs and Tennyson have contributed to an appreciation of those poets. During his current tour of American campuses he has been lecturing primarily on the works of W. B. Yeats and I.S. Pliot.
Dylan and his admirers have often been an loggerheads with the academic establishment, but Ricks feels that this stance has at least on Dylan's part been more of a pose than a visceral anti intellectualism. As evidence of Dylan's sensitivity to the judgment of academics. Ricks cited Dylan's hesitation on publishing his volume of poetry. Tarantula, after Allen Ginsberg warned him that it night not be well received by establishment cities.
And Rick's meticulous approach was a welcome change of pace from non establishment criticism of Dylan's works which has been uniformly trite and unhelpful Jon Landau of Rolling Stone refers to the "multileveledness" of Mr. Lambontine Man," which sounds fairly impressive but doesn't mean much Similarly Pen Hamill on his liner notes to Hlood on the bracks which Dylan wisely decided to funk on the next shipment of the album-makes mysterious allusions to the Oran of Camus and using a favorite critical catch all phrase phrase, praises the "spaces" in Dylan's songs which "allow us to create with him."
"Some people have compared your works to Yeat's and Eliot's," a reporter said to Dylan a while ago. "I've never read Yeats," answered Dylan coyly intimating that he read Eliot. From Desolation Row:
Praise be to Nero's Neptune
The Titanic sails at dawn
And everybody's shouting
"Which Side Are You On?"
And lezra Pound and I.S. Fhot
Fighting in the captain's tower
While calvpso singers laugh at them
And fishermen hold flowers
Between the windows of the sea
Where lovely mermaids flow