The Tarantula Files: Maldoror and The Good World

by Larry Fyffe


The exciting adventures of the Tarantula Tales continue:

(Y)ou look like james arness? - i am writing
to you to say that you are my son's idol
(Bob Dylan: Tarantula)

Auto/biographical in that singer/songwriter/musician Bob Dylan is said by a number of “Dylanologists” to take his “stage name” from Marshal Matt Dillon of Dodge City, Kansas.

Played on TV’s “Gunsmoke” by James Arness.

Poet Dylan Thomas, a more likely candidate as indicated in the following song lyrics:

The cloak and dagger dangles
Madams light the candles
(Bob Dylan: Love Minus Zero)


Words  that remind of those below:

(T)he goat and daisy dingles
Nap happy and lazy
(Dylan Thomas: Under The Milk Wood)

Another literary source is indicated beneath, a clear one this time:

& Lord Randall  playing with a quart of beer
(Bob Dylan: Tarantula)

Reflected in the following song lyrics:

Oh where have you been, my blue-eyed son
Oh where have you been, my darling young one
(Bob Dylan: A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall)

As in:

Oh where have ye been, Lord Randall, my son
Oh where have ye been, my handsome young man
(Lord Randall ~ traditional)

There be outlaws, gun-slinging cowboys, bank and train robbers, all from the Old American West,  positioned here, there, and everywhere.

A member of the James /Younger Gang, a former Confederate guerrilla, then a bank robber, later a Christian:

"(I)'m cole younger, gave my horse to the pony express
- other'n than that, i'm just like you"
(Bob Dylan: Tarantula)

The symbolic Tarantula, for the prose/poet below anyway, is not at all sympathetic to any claim that there’s a brighter world to come, where everyone’s equal; rather eternally surrounded we all are by a vampiric nightmare:

Night was beginning to spread over nature
The blackness of her veil
(Lucien Ducasse: The Songs Of Maldoror ~ translated)

John Keats no longer accused of being a nightingale too happy in its happiness:

Well, my sense of humanity has gone down the drain
Behind every beautiful thing, there's some kind of pain
... I just don't see why I should even care
It's not dark yet, but it's getting there
(Bob Dylan: Not Dark Yet)


The Good World

& he's eating a picture of jean paul belmondo
(Bob Dylan: Tarantula)

In a neoNoir movie, Jean-Paul Belmondo, a handsome French actor plays a small-time hood who’s searching for the good life.

The Existentialist-oriented film is titled “Breathless”, a ‘New Wave’ film that features “jump cuts”, and ambiguous dialogue.

In the movie, the fleeing anti-hero shoots a policeman; he ends up betrayed by his American girlfriend, and is shot to death.

In the song lyrics below, albeit at a slower pace of breathing than before, the Poe-like narrator manages to retain a living breath ~ at least for the time being:

Forgetful heart
We loved with all the love that life can give
What can I say
Without you it's so hard to live
Can't take much more
Why can't we love like we did before
(Bob Dylan: Forgetful Heart ~ Dylan/Hunter)

As previously noted, Euro-centric ‘Dylanologists’ tend to forget, or else ignore, the strong influence that the Gothic writings of Edgar Allen Poe have on many of the song lyrics written (some assisted) by Bob Dylan.

Words count:

But we loved with a love that was more than love
I and my Annabel Lee ...
And so all the night-tide, I Iie down by her side
Of my darling - my darling - my life and my bride
In her sepulchre there by the sea
(Edgar Poe: Annabel Lee)

Annabel’s “highborn kinsmen” take her body away.

Now-a-days, asserted it is by a number of doomsday writers, official bureaucracies control most everyone’s life, their dreams, and even their deaths:

(W)here the bureaucrats
- the dreamy Huxley hanger oners
(Bob Dylan: Tarantula)

These bureaucrats, warns Britisher Aldous Huxley (in “Brave New World”), are always getting new and more efficient means to maintain social control:

Oh wonder
How many goodly creatures are there here
How beauteous mankind is
O brave new world
(William Shakespeare: The Tempest, Act V, sc. i)

Those means of control can include musicians, and songsters to entertain; and   drugs to placate:

The watchman he lay dreaming
As the ballroom dancers twirled
He dreamed the Titanic was sinking
Into the underworld
(Bob Dylan: Tempest)

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