Activity: Participating in or organising an event types › Participation in conference
'When the Ship Comes In'
This paper juxtaposes two sea journeys that span the arc of Dylan’s career: ‘Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream’, from Bringing It All Back Home, 1965, whose singer voices his arrival in America (‘I think I’ll call it America, I said as we hit land’); and ‘Tempest’, from the 2012 album of the same name, whose fated narrative finds no such harbour. ‘Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream’, a fusion of the Pilgrims’ crossing to the New World with the sea-quest of Melville’s Moby Dick, recasts the journeys of the Mayflower and the Pequod; ‘Tempest’, the disastrous maiden voyage of the Titanic. Dylan’s imagining of these iconic sea journeys tells the tale of two different Americas, the one an exploration of America’s foundation narratives, the other, a prophecy of American doom. A coda to this talk discusses ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’s’ return, ‘Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands’, to that original moment of American discovery.