Harvard professor gets deal to write Bob Dylan book

Bob Dylan on stage circa 1966.
D. A. Pennebaker
Bob Dylan on stage circa 1966.

When it was announced that Bob Dylan had won the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature, our first call was to Harvard Classics professor Richard Thomas, who teaches a freshman seminar devoted to the artist formerly known as Robert Zimmerman. In addition to knowing a lot about Greek and Roman poetry, the New Zealand-bred PhD is a serious Dylanologist. That’s why Thomas has inked a deal with Dey Street Books to write “Why Dylan Matters,” which, according to the publisher, will make a compelling case “for why the words and lyrics of Dylan endure and inspire generations, exploring Dylan’s music through the lens of popular culture, Western literature, and in the tradition of classical poets like Virgil and Homer, and decoding and contextualizing Dylan’s lyrics for a new generation of fans.” Sounds interesting but it might just be more fun to listen to Dylan’s records.