Bob Dylan’s “Westerns”: Border Crossings and the Flight from “the Domestic”

  • John McCombe
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Music and Literature book series (PASTMULI)


John McCombe’s chapter offers a revealing discussion of “western” codes of masculinity in Dylan’s work. McCombe’s “goal is to demonstrate how Dylan’s westerns regularly conform to, yet occasionally subvert, gender-based binaries that distinguish the classical Hollywood western.” In so doing, McCombe proves how “integral popular music can be to conversations about masculinity, domesticity, and the western genre.” The chapter analyzes a number of Dylan’s western-themed songs that are laced with autobiographical echoes of Dylan’s struggle to balance career and home life. This analysis finally demonstrates how these “increasingly complex song westerns also suggest that a ‘Polyvocal Dylan’ is a product of the manner in which cinematic discourses collide with gender discourses at a particular moment of ideological crisis for the western and western hero.”


Bob Dylan Westerns Gender identity Feminism Misogyny Masculinity 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • John McCombe
    • 1
  1. 1.University of DaytonDaytonUSA

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