1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
R. M. Peterson
- Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
David Pichaske is a Professor of English at Southwest Minnesota State University. He has been writing about Bob Dylan since 1972, and surely he was absorbing Dylan even before then (he was born in 1943, Dylan in 1941). So in a sense, Pichaske spent much of his life writing this book. And it is a prodigious, detailed, and ultimately worthwhile study of the life and work of Bob Dylan.
Pichaske's organizing thesis is that Dylan's Minnesota roots constitute "an important framework * * * for considering his work." Accordingly, Pichaske examines Dylan's early life, his hometown of Hibbing, Minnesota, and the traditions of the Midwest, the Upper Midwest, and the Minnesota Iron Range, and he shows the ways in which all of those are embodied and reflected in the songs of Dylan. And that consideration of Dylan's oeuvre is comprehensive, from 1962 to 2009.
Within that framework, SONG OF THE NORTH COUNTRY is a sprawling, thorough, learned, and impressive study of Dylan. Although it is not overly freighted with the jargon of academia, it is the work of an academic. For example, there are 35 pages of end notes (and don't ignore them, they contain a lot of good material) as well as ten pages of bibliographical references. The book undoubtedly is too detailed, maybe even too hifalutin, for the casual reader or fan who thinks of cultural studies in terms of biographical profiles in the likes of "Rolling Stone". I confess that it was too detailed for me to read every page; I don't care THAT much about Bob Dylan. But for the serious student of Dylan, SONG OF THE NORTH COUNTRY should be a rich and rewarding book.
Moreover, the penumbra of the book reaches well beyond Bob Dylan. Pichaske has a lot to say about the broader ambits of American history and twentieth-century American culture and politics. For example, in the course of his discussion of Dylan's "prairie populism" and how it resonated with the New Left, he observes that the SDS "was in many respects just a sixties reincarnation of old Midwest populism." ("Of course," I said to myself, though that had never occurred to me before.) And he opines that Dylan's tendency to "play East and West as contrasting opposites" reflects "the Minnesota side of a fundamental split in American cultural thinking: what we call the East has a Revolutionary War and a Civil War history and a consciousness of that history; the eastern and central Midwest and South have little Revolutionary War history or consciousness, but a profound lingering sense of the Civil War; the West begins at the north-south line - roughly the Mississippi River - where the Civil War counts for little, if anything, in the daily imagination of the populace, and people west of that line * * * think alike." Somewhat of an overgeneralization, to be sure, but insightful all the same.
SONG OF THE NORTH COUNTRY is not quite a five-star book, unless you are a serous student of Bob Dylan, but it contains enough to make browsing around in it worthwhile. At least that was the case for me.
P.S., in the way of a personal disclosure of sorts: I know the author from fifty-three years ago. His family went to the same church as mine. In fact, his father, who worked at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, doubled as the back-up minister for our congregation in suburban Philadelphia. The author served as back-up organist for the congregation. I have an enduring memory of him mugging from the organist's bench to make us boys in the youth choir giggle (and get in trouble) during church services. If you should read this, Dave, best personal regards.