Autobiographically speaking

I’m currently reading Bob Dylan’s Chronicles – volume 1. I’ve been an avid consumer of all things Dylan for many years now, since my early teens. I guess I’ve always empathised with his astute awkwardness, if that isn’t too obtuse. Chronicles has that rare quality in an modern autobiography, authenticity. He’s frank and effusive about the moments he wants to discuss and consigns others to god knows where, possible vols 2 and 3? Following on, the style is stacatto but pleasingly earnest. It’s free of the modern 15 minute celebrity peccadillo, the embellishment and forgery of past trauma in order to justify the sins of the present. Dylan doesn’t seem compelled, perhaps he’s at peace, whatever that means. Either way there are some hilarious passages as he descibes his many attempts to cast off the “voice of generation” moniker that burdened him for so long.
As the respected English literature critic and humanities professor Christopher Ricks points out “I don’t think there’s anybody that uses words better than he does…”. So perhaps it’s time after many years of nominations that Dylan is finally given the Nobel Prize for literature in recognition of the profound effects his words have had on several generations. While he’s uncertain about blurrring the boundaries of the award by recognising the dual media of the song writer, Rick’s own Dylan’s Vision’s of Sin makes a cogent argument for Dylan’s celebration as one of the great figures in literature. Does “Sad eyed Lady of the Lowlands” transcend the format of popular song? And then some…