Friday, April 16, 2010

Montague Street (Journal of Bob Dylan)

In my career of as a science/engineering librarian I have been exposed to many technical journals which by their nature are written for specialists in their respective fields. Over the years I have read many popular books about Bob Dylan. The ones in my personal collection is listed at . For the first time I found out about a journal devoted to the works of Bob Dylan. It is called Montague Street named after a street mentioned in "Tangled Up in Blue." Since the editors, Nina Goss and Lucas Stensland, live in Brooklyn, I assume they are referring to the street there.

In an introduction to the first issue Nina and Lucas state that the scope of this work is in the artistry of Dylan. Some years ago I subscribed to the fanzine On the Tracks which ceased publication. I am aware of Isis and a few other intellecutal Dylan publications, but this is the only academic journal I am aware of devoted to Dylan. I did a search in a humanities database and there are many peer reviewed articles about Mr. Zimmerman.

When I got the journal I looked at the credentials of the contributing authors. Several of them are Professors at prestigious universities. I actually had the magazine with me yesterday when I had my long train delay. About half of the articles were devoted the the album Oh Mercy for its 20th anniversary. This was not my favorite Dylan album, but I still enjoyed it.

This periodical is not for the casual Dylan fan. I enjoyed reading it though it was a little too intellectual for me even with a masters degrees in chemistry and library science. The authors give very detailed analyses of Dylan's words while my approach to his analysis is somewhat cursory. I can pick lines out of context and ignore the rest of the song.

I was almost shocked to read that Nina Goss started listening to Dylan in 2005, while I started back in 1965 after I heard Like a Rolling Stone on Top 40 radio. I guess 45 years of listening and reading about Dylan should qualify me to write an article. The editors say that the credentials of the author are less important than the substance of the contribution . The theme of the next issue is confinement. Let me scratch my head.

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