William O'Brien Winter Courses

Bob Dylan
Instructor: William O'Brien

Bob Dylan: rock legend, folk hero, song writer, Bob Dylan Inc., protest singer, recluse, poet, sell-out, bobdylan.com, the never-ending performer.

The production and practice of American pop (or ‘folk’ or ‘rock’) music changed forever with the self-invention of Bob Dylan in 1961.  Still performing today, the Pulitzer-Prize winning Dylan has transformed himself countless times, extending  the tradition of American popular song, delighting, confounding, and sometimes infuriating audiences.

Centering on recorded performances, this course will investigate the phenomenon called Bob Dylan.  We will listen to Dylan from 1962 to the present, concentrate on his lyrics as performed song, and attend to the historical, political, economic, aesthetic, and cultural complexities of Dylan’s work.

Most media available online. With little exception, we will study entire ‘albums’ (or cd’s) which are, in Dylan’s case, specific ‘performances’ and coherent works.  In class we will watch the famous documentary of Dylan’s 1965 English tour, D. A. Pennebaker’s Don’t Look Back, as well as other footage.

Dylan’s song lyrics can be downloaded online, but I recommend you purchase the most complete book of his lyrics, Bob Dylan - Lyrics: 1962-2001, and also his memoir, Chronicles.  Both will be in the UCSD bookstore, and are available at reasonable prices online.  Both will help you greatly.

To get ready for the course: download music and study lyrics to The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan.

Requirements: Written responses to home listening and viewing, and final exam.
► LTCS 111 is a LTEN equivalent course