‘I Want You’: Enigma and Kerygma in the Love Lyrics of Bob Dylan

  • Richard Brown


Fiedler’s remarks, which were compelling to many and infuriating to others, have been sidestepped in much subsequent criticism of American writing, its aspirations and developments. They may in some ways best be understood as products of the intellectual mood of their times, both in the unmistakable ring of those decades of mass youth culture and in the sense that they may remind us of a mode of academic criticism which welcomed the interpretative freedom or flair of a critic like Fiedler, attached neither to theoretical principle nor to traditional notions of scholarly propriety. This kind of ‘freedom’ we may now distrust, or see as inevitably enslaved to the ideological prejudices of its time; but we may come to regret its absence. And if the slightly dated ring of Fiedler’s remarks reduces their value as accounts of Moby Dick or Huckleberry Finn, might it not suggest an application to the mass popular writings of the time?


Planet Wave Popular Music Romantic Love Truth Teller True Love 
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  1. 1.
    Leslie Fiedler, Love and Death in the American Novel, 3rd edition (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books 1984) p. 339.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    Robert Shelton, No Direction Home: The Life and Music of Bob Dylan (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books 1987) p. 484.Google Scholar
  3. 10.
    Richard Goldstein in The Village Voice (September 1966), quoted in Shelton, p. 327.Google Scholar

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© Ann Massa 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Brown

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