Thursday, September 14, 2006

Timrod steward

In the Times today, there's a piece by Motoko Rich on how Bob Dylan's new album, Modern Times, contains lyrics similar to some poems by Henry Timrod ("sometimes known as the poet laureate of the Confederacy"). Timrod isn't credited or acknowledged in any way; most (but not all) of the exegetes quoted in the article seem to have little problem with the borrowing. (Modern Times, someone has noted, contains the letters in Timrod's last name.)

As I read the article, I did think about the Kaavya Viswanathan/Megan McCafferty imbroglio, and wondered: How come no one argued that K.'s plagiarism was just part of the "folk process"? (A cheekier me might have made the case for Opal Mehta as avant-garde text, presumably employing the cut-up technique.) But mostly I was reminded of Dylan's most recent prior borrowing—from Confessions of a Yakuza, on 2001's "Love and Theft".

Which recalled this long-forgotten piece of whimsy from the Parkhives.

* * *

Side note: Ron Rosenbaum's dismissal of Modern Times in the Observer contains hilarious repeated mentions of "Winterlude" (off of New Morning) as the nadir of Dylan's songwriting. (I hadn't thought of it, but it is a pretty terrible song!)


Blogger Devin McKinney said...

This aggression will not stand:

"Winterlude" is, in fact, among Dylan's BEST songs, not his WORST. Ha, must've been a typo on Rosenbaum's part! And yours.

That's an awful big typo, though . . .

6:21 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

I like the title!

8:36 PM  

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