Dylan’s Autobiography of a Vocation

Dylan’s Autobiography of a Vocation: A Reading of the Lyrics 1965–1967

by Louis A. Renza

Louis A. Renza is an Emeritus Professor of English at Dartmouth College, USA. He has published critical works on various US writers such as Edgar Allan Poe, Mark Twain, Sarah Orne Jewett, Stephen Crane, Henry James, Ernest Hemingway and Wallace Stevens. Starting in the 1970s and through 2010, he taught a Dartmouth course on Bob Dylan’s lyrics. He also directed a 2006 conference at Dartmouth College on Dylan’s works, and has published articles on them that include, respectively, critical discussions of such songs as “Went to See the Gypsy” and “Simple Twist of Fate.”. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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Bloomsbury Academic, 2017
  • DOI:
  • ISBN:
    978-1-5013-2852-7 (hardback)

    978-1-5013-2854-1 (epdf)

    978-1-5013-2853-4 (epub)

    978-1-5013-2855-8 (online)
  • Edition:
    First edition
  • Place of Publication:
    New York
  • Published Online:
Dylan’s Autobiography of a Vocation
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Many critics have interpreted Bob Dylan’s lyrics, especially those composed during the middle to late 1960s, in the contexts of their relation to American folk, blues, and rock ‘n’ roll precedents; their discographical details and concert performances; their social, political and cultural relevance; and/or their status for discussion as “poems.” Dylan's Autobiography of a Vocation instead focuses on how all of Dylan’s 1965-1967 songs manifest traces of his ongoing, internal “autobiography” in which he continually declares and questions his relation to a self-determined existential summons.