Bob Dylan dall’appropriazione alla trasfigurazione PDF Print Email

Alessandro Carrera


In a 2012 interview following the release of his album, Tempest, Bob Dylan claimed that in the 1960’s, after the death of a man named Robert Zimmerman (like him before he became Bob Dylan), he became a different person; he was «transfigured» and that is the reason why he has had such a long career and still makes successful records. Dylan’s use of the term, «transfiguration», has a decidedly Christian overtone which should be investigated in a different context. However, it may also work as a credible description of his creative process. During his whole career, and especially in the latest phase, from 1997 until now, Dylan has indeed «transfigured» the legacy of American folk and pop music. From an aesthetic point of view, transfiguration may be indeed a more appropriate description of what Dylan has done in the last twenty years than appropriation, stealing, or even plagiarism.


Alessandro Carrera is Director of Italian Studies and Graduate Director of World Cultures & Literatures at the University of Houston. He has published extensively in the fields of Italian and Comparative Literature, Continental Philosophy, and Music Criticism (classical and popular). He is the author of La voce di Bob Dylan, 2nd revised edition, Feltrinelli, Milano 2011 and has translated into Italian the songs and prose of Bob Dylan (all published by Feltrinelli). His article, “Oh, the Streets of Rome: Dylan in Italy,” is included in C. J. Sheehy, T. Swiss (eds.), Highway 61 Revisited: Bob Dylan from Minnesota to the World, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis MI 2009.


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