Not Just Literature: Exploring the Performative Dimensions of Bob Dylan’s Work

  • Keith Nainby
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Music and Literature book series (PASTMULI)


Keith Nainby’s chapter explores “the connection between Dylan’s vocal performance and his texts.” Foregrounding Dylan’s provocation of complex aesthetic responses in his listeners, Nainby combines concrete examples and rigorous textual analysis of Dylan’s vocal performances to highlight the manner in which language communicates experience by necessarily obfuscating it. Dylan’s songs and compelling performative strategies are, according to Nainby, defined by “the rate at which he breathes sound into the microphone and the rate at which he allows that sound to decay.” These very specific “vocal performance choices are an integral element of his poetic treatment of human relationships, relationships he frames as troublesome and beautiful because they are fraught with the paradox at the heart of communication.”


Bob Dylan Vocal performance Voice Performance Communication 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Keith Nainby
    • 1
  1. 1.California State University, StanislausTurlockUSA

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