In his book Dylan's Visions of Sin, preeminent poetry critic Christopher Ricks gives Dylan's work and words their most sustained reading to date, and reveals him as an inheritor and interpreter of the Anglo-American poetic tradition.
Sean Wilentz, a Princeton professor and Historian-in-Residence at bobdylan.com, situates Dylan in the cultural and historical contexts that thrust him into the core of 20th century American iconography.
Moderated by Matthew von Unwerth, this roundtable will explore Dylan's work as an ongoing conversation with tradition—literary, musical, historical, cultural—as opposed to and in productive tension with his works' innovations, and their erstwhile reputation as new, groundbreaking, and prophetic.
Panelists will address Dylan's borrowings—from scripture, Chaucer, Civil War poet Henry Timrod, vaudeville—as well as his prolific non-musical output, including his stint as host of Theme Time Radio Hour, interpreting his work through the prisms of their respective expertise.
Christopher Ricks is Warren Professor of the Humanities at Boston University. He was President of the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics and Writers from 2007 to 2008, and Professor of Poetry at Oxford from 2004 to 2009. In 2004, he published Dylan's Visions of Sin.
Matthew von Unwerth is the author of Freud's Requiem: Memory, Mourning and the Invisible History of a Summer Walk. He is Director of the A.A. Brill Library of The New York Psychoanalytic Institute and Coordinator of the Film Program at the Philoctetes Center. He is a candidate in psychoanalytic training in New York.
Sean Wilentz is Sidney and Ruth Lapidus Professor in the American Revolutionary Era at Princeton University. A recipient of the Bancroft and Beveridge Prizes in American history, he is also Historian-in-Residence at Bob Dylan's official website, www.bobdylan.com. His new book, Bob Dylan in America, will be published by Doubleday in 2010.
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.
Watch it here.