Dylan And Post-Post Modernism (Part II)
By Larry Fyffe
Though vaguely defined and overlapping other categories that seek to classify art, we’ll consider Post-Post Modernism to be literature and song lyrics that revive the hopes for a better society envisioned by the Romantic Transcendentalist writers. In the poems of innovative artists like Walt Whitman who hails the progress made by American technology to the less optimistic middle-of-the road approach taken by Robert Frost, the “American Dream” lives on.
According to Post-Post Modernist writers, the “American Dream” is not dead, nor shattered beyond repair, as many Post Modernist writers consider it to be – there’s still a light shining notwithstanding that it’s diminished in these modern times.
The persona in the song lyrics below strives to stay forever young; tries to keep on the
Post-Post Modern side of the road:
Hey, come on try a little Nothing is forever There's got to be something better Than in the middle But me and Cinderella We put it all together We can drive it home With one headlight (The Wallflowers: One Headlight ~ Jakob Dylan)
Compare the following lyrics that can be considered Post Modernist:
Cinderella, she seems so easy: "It takes one to know one", she smiles And puts her hands in her back pockets, Bette Davis style And in comes Romeo, he moans: 'You belong to me, I believe" And someone says: "You're in the wrong place, my friend, you'd better leave" And the only sound that's left after the ambulances go Is Cinderella sweeping up on Desolation Row (Bob Dylan: Desolation Row)
In the song lyrics below, Walt Whitman’s dream is all but shattered:
I have no apologies to make Everything's flowing at the same time I live on a boulevard of crime I drive fast cars, and I eat fast foods I contain multitudes (Bob Dylan: I Contain Multitudes)
In the following lyrics, the dream is dead as a door nail:
Stack up the bricks, pour the cement Don't say Dallas don't love you, Mr. President Put your foot in the tank, and step on the gas Try to make it to the triple underpass (Bob Dylan: Murder Most Foul)
In the poem below, ideals apparently never die:
My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse or will The ship's anchored safe and sound, it's voyage closed and done From fearful trip, the victor ship comes in with object won (Walt Whitman: O Captain, My Captain)
The forces of good outshine the forces of darkness in the lyrics below; complacency be the order of the day:
I got my window open wide Got a good woman by my side ... Yeah, this kind of day has no night And I ain't got much on my mind I ain't got much on my mind 'Cause I know something good this way comes (Jakob Dylan: Something Good This Way Comes)
For sure, Shakespeare is not in the alley with his pointed shoes and his bells:
By the pricking of my thumbs Something wicked this way comes Open locks Whoever knocks! (William Shakespeare: Macbeth, Act IV, sc i)
The apple, however, never falls far from the tree:
Well, you're on your own, you always were In a land of wolves and thieves Don't put your hope in an ungodly man Or be a slave to what somebody else believes (Bob Dylan: Trust Yourself)
You may also enjoy
Untold Dylan: who we are what we do
Untold Dylan is written by people who want to write for Untold Dylan. It is simply a forum for those interested in the work of the most famous, influential and recognised popular musician and poet of our era, to read about, listen to and express their thoughts on, his lyrics and music.
We welcome articles, contributions and ideas from all our readers. Sadly no one gets paid, but if you are published here, your work will be read by a fairly large number of people across the world, ranging from fans to academics who teach English literature. If you have an idea, or a finished piece send it as a Word file to Tony@schools.co.uk with a note saying that it is for publication on Untold Dylan.
We also have a very lively discussion group “Untold Dylan” on Facebook with approaching 5000 active members. Just type the phrase “Untold Dylan” in, on your Facebook page or follow this link
You’ll find some notes about our latest posts arranged by themes and subjects on the home page of this site. You can also see details of our main sections on this site at the top of this page under the picture. Not every index is complete but I do my best.
But what is complete is our index to all the 604 Dylan compositions and co-compositions that we have found, on the A to Z page. I’m proud of that; no one else has found that many songs with that much information. Elsewhere the songs are indexed by theme and by the date of composition. See for example Bob Dylan year by year.