“Dylanologist” to speak

BAR HARBOR — Richard F. Thomas will give a talk about Bob Dylan Thursday, Aug. 2, at 7 p.m. at the Jesup Memorial Library.

In his book, “Why Bob Dylan Matters,” Thomas makes the case for moving Dylan out of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and into the Western literary canon. There will be a concert beforehand at 6:30 with the Beech Mountain Project, which will be playing pieces of Dylan’s music.

When Dylan won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2016, a debate raged. How could the world’s most prestigious book prize be awarded to a famously cantankerous singer-songwriter who would not even attend the medal ceremony? A world expert on classical poetry, Thomas was initially ridiculed by his colleagues at Harvard for teaching a course on Dylan, nicknamed “Dylan 101,” alongside his traditional seminars on Homer, Virgil and Ovid. Dylan’s Nobel Prize brought him vindication, and he immediately found himself thrust into the spotlight as a leading academic voice in all matters Dylanological.

“Why Bob Dylan Matters” celebrates Dylan’s genius as it explores his music within the context of current events and modern pop culture. Thomas considers the influences on Dylan’s creativity and analyzes the artist and his work, including his memoir, through the lens of Western literature and in the tradition of poets going all the way back to Homer.

National Public Radio writes that the book is “a highly informed, yet intimately personal celebration of one of our most important living writers.” And Booklist adds that the book is “a masterstroke of literary detective work … and an exciting examination of an artist’s enigmatic mind.”

Thomas is the George Martin Lane Professor of the Classics at Harvard University. He is a trustee of the Loeb Classical Library at Harvard and currently serves as editor of Harvard Studies in Classical Philology.

Books will be on sale that night courtesy of Sherman’s Books. Contact the Jesup at 288-4245 or [email protected] for more information.

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