Richard Thomas' new book: WHY BOB DYLAN MATTERS

November 29, 2017
Why Bob Dylan Matters

Congratulations to Professor Richard F. Thomas on his new book, WHY BOB DYLAN MATTERS (Harper Collins, 2017). Professor Thomas is a preeminent Dylan expert who has published extensively on Dylan and the literary tradition of which Dylan is a part. He teaches Harvard’s Freshman seminar, currently titled “Bob Dylan.”

WHY BOB DYLAN MATTERS is a witty, personal distillation of Thomas’ famous course, celebrating Dylan’s genius as it explores his music within the context of current events and modern popular culture. Thomas considers the influences on Dylan’s creativity, analyzing 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.

Asking us to reflect on the question, “What makes a classic?”, Thomas offers an eloquent argument for Dylan’s modern relevance and passionately defends his 2016 Nobel Prize, maintaining that Dylan is indeed a poet for the ages on the level of T. S. Eliot or Virgil. Throughout, Thomas decodes and interprets Dylan’s lyrics, illuminating their meaning for long-time Dylan lovers and for a new audience just discovering his genius.


Notable interviews and reviews:

BBC6, interview with Cerys Matthews

The Boston Globe, "Virgil, Homer, and Dylan; pop-up bookstore in Rockport; recalling Combat Zone"

The Guardian, "The Harvard professor of Bob Dylan studies: 'My thesis is that he has become Odysseus'"

The Indepedent, "Why Bob Dylan Matters by Richard F Thomas, review: Accessible and enjoyable"

NPR, "A Classics Professor Explains 'Why Bob Dylan Matters'"