40 Pages

Introduction: Catalysing Encounters

This chapter assesses the role that collage techniques play in a selection of Bob Dylan's work from the early 1960s to the mid-1970s, considering songs including 'A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall', 'Desolation Row', 'Visions of Johanna', and 'Tangled Up In Blue'. It emphasises the assertion that collage articulates an intellectual and emotional relationship with any given aesthetic environment, and that it's most significant principle is the linking of, and free experimentation with, disparate phenomena. The chapter shows how as it had also done for Burroughs in particular, collage enabled Dylan to set himself up as an original, abounding in influences whilst rarely seeming derivative. A deliberate cultural jumble history seen flat culture heroes of all kinds known only by their names, their attributes lost by intergenerational erosion all of them so much unreality against the background of Desolation Row, the flat and dusty truth, the myth before the myth began.