Restless Epitaphs: Revenance and Dramatic Tension in Bob Dylan’s Early Narratives

  • Damian A. Carpenter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Music and Literature book series (PASTMULI)


Damian A. Carpenter’s chapter explores “two ways in which Dylan makes use of epitaph in his work and what this use symbolizes in regard to his identity as an artist: (1) as a performative, dramatic rhetorical space and (2) as an existential threat.” Carpenter engages Dylan’s debts to traditional poetics while also insisting upon (and stressing the importance of) his unique role as a writer of songs/music. Carpenter deploys an intriguing idea of “revenance,” defined in this context as “a portmanteau term that encompasses notions of the revenant (in terms of both a ghostly presence and simply meaning one who returns to a place), resonance and presence.” Central to his analysis is Dylan’s tendency to embrace a social/aesthetic past he simultaneously seeks to overcome.


Bob Dylan Epitaph Ghosts Poetics Minnesota Revenance 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Damian A. Carpenter
    • 1
  1. 1.East Tennessee State UniversityJohnson CityUSA

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