Each summer, the town of Esch-sur-Alzette (Luxembourg), where I live, hosts a special floral garden in its main square, Place de l’Hôtel de Ville. This year`s garden, baptised ‘Culture.S’, combines the natural language of plants with the human language of ethical concepts.

The title also plays on the double meaning of culture, as cultivation of plants and of values. Five pillars, each in the shape of a book, make up the display, integrated with the plant kingdom and proclaiming respectively (in French) the virtues of Bienveillance, Liberté, Solidarité, Tolérance and Unité (Benevolence, Liberty, Solidarity, Tolerance and Unity). The concept is the work of Luxembourg artist Florence Hoffmann, and apart from commemorating summer 2019, is also part of the run-up to the year 2022, when Esch-sur-Alzette will be joint European Capital of Culture. An artistic creation like this, simple yet profound, augurs well indeed for 2022!‘profound, augurs well indeed for 2022!


Hard on the heels of the international Bob Dylan conference held in Tulsa (Oklahoma) in May/June 2019 (see post on this blog, 9 June 2019), and in parallel with the development of the Dylan archive, also in Tulsa, there now arrives a brand-new journal, the Dylan Review. This publication (online only and free of charge) aims to fill a significant gap in Dylan studies, its rationale being ‘to provide a forum for rigorous intellectual exploration of Bob Dylan’s art’. While Dylan fanzines of high quality levels are not lacking, a fanzine is not an academic journal, and in the post-Nobel Dylan environment such a journal was needed more than ever. Under its co-editors Raphael Falco (University of Maryland) and Lisa Sanders (Saint Peter’s University, NJ), and with an editorial board including among others Nina Goss of Fordham University, NY and Richard Thomas, professor of classics at Harvard, the Dylan Review is now posed to occupy a key role at the academic end of Dylan studies. It will publish critical articles, interviews and book, film and exhibition reviews and will come out twice a year.


The first issue (1.1, Summer 2019), now online, comes across as well-produced, professional, and infused with both the requisite intellectual rigour and the enthusiasm of true Dylan devotees. Among the articles, there are two contrasting takes on the latest Bootleg Series offering, the ‘Blood on the Tracks’ outtakes ‘More Blood, More Tracks’: Jonathan Hodgers’ technical-musicological perspective marks an approach rarely found, while Richard Thomas’s blow-by-blow account of the lyrics’ evolution is an invaluable reference. Lisa Sanders offers a fascinating account of the ‘Mondo Scripto’ lyrics and drawings exhibition in London, Nick Smart ably reviews a new book by Daryl Sanders on the making of ‘Blonde and Blonde’, and Joan Osborne, recent coverer of Dylan songs, is the subject of a lucid interview.

The journal’s site is at:

and the current issue can be downloaded as a .pdf at:

This first number fulfils its promise and looks indeed set to fill that academic gap: further issues will be eagerly awaited!


I am pleased to report that an article of mine on José Saramago, which appeared in 1999 in the Portuguese publication FAROL in the wake of the author’s Nobel, can now be found on a Brazilian site hosting a vast collection of material in Portuguese, aimed at both students and researchers. There appears to be a particular emphasis ón pupils preparing for university.

The article is:
‘A História na Literatura, a Literatura na História: José Saramago, Nobel Português’, FAROL (Viana do Castelo, Portugal), No 12, May 1999, pp. 55-70 – primary on-line reference:

The Brazilian site, Docplayer, is at:

and the reference is:

The article appears as it was published in FAROL, with photos.

Docplayer is available free of charge to students and researchers, and members may upload articles.

If my work is of help in particular to a new generation of young people in Brazil, I am more than content, and I extend my thanks to
those who found and included my text!


I am pleased to recommend a recently discovered scholarly and academic resource, the ORCID database:

ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) is a free-of-charge, non-profit international database, founded in 2012 and based in the US (Delaware). It allows members to enter full details of qualifications, affiliation, membership of associations and societies, invited positions and distinctions, grants and published works.

Each member is issued with a unique ORCID ID. Unlike Google Scholar, ORCID is user-controlled and members can at any time add, modify and remove data. In this way it is more like the former GetCited site.

Published works can be entered either manually or via ORCID’s custom links to other databases.

On my experience so far I am very pleased with this resource, and am sure other scholars will find it similarly useful!


Report by Christopher Rollason, participant


Bob Dylan imagined before his poet’s eyes ‘every bit of dust in the Oklahoma plains’ in ‘Hard Times In New York Town’, one of his earliest songs, and outsiders might have an image of Tulsa, Oklahoma’s second city, as just another mid-sized mid-western town, scarcely distinguishable from a score of others – and best known to the wider world from the weepy Bacharach-David number ’24 Hours from Tulsa’ with which Gene Pitney stormed the charts in 1963.

Such a view, however, is wrong for a city that is today host to a multiplicity of arts venues, from the Gilcrease Museum with its remarkable holdings of Native American art to the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame and the Woody Guthrie Center. The latter has hosted the great folksinger’s archive since 2013: the young Dylan’s idol was, indeed, born in Oklahoma in 1912. It is therefore more than logical that the University of Tulsa should today also be the home of the Institute for Bob Dylan Studies, the Bob Dylan archive (operative since 2016 and open to scholars) and the Bob Dylan Center (planned to become the public face of the archive in 2022). Indeed, the traveller arriving at Tulsa’s airport is greeted by prominent posters of both Dylan and Guthrie, and Dylan has publicly endorsed Tulsa as the location for his enormous, multimedia archive.

Tulsa’s place on the Dylan studies map has now been further cemented by the World of Bob Dylan International Conference, held from 30 May to 2 June 2019 and spearheaded by the Institute for Bob Dylan Studies. The conference, its venues divided between the Hyatt Regency hotel, the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame and the Gilcrease Museum and its Helmerich Center for American Research, attracted a public of 500, 150 of whom gave papers. The organiser-in-chief was Sean Latham, Walter Professor of English at the University of Tulsa and director of the Institute for Bob Dylan Studies.

The ‘world of research’, as evoked by Dylan in his song ‘Nettie Moore’ from 2006, was amply gratified by the event. It included plenary lectures by the legendary Greil Marcus, doyen of American cultural studies and arch-priest of Dylan lore, and by music critic Ann Powers; a showing of film material from the archive; sessions explaining the archive project; and an evening with no less a Dylan collaborator than Roger McGuinn, who as a member of the Byrds made that group’s cover of ‘Mr Tambourine Man’ a US/UK number one in 1965, and now shared reminiscences and performed Dylan compositions including that song (all four verses too!) and the lesser-known gem ‘Up To Me’.

Those giving papers included some of the foremost contemporary names in Dylan studies, and the range of subjects and approaches testified to the profundity and multifacetedness of Bob Dylan’s extraordinary writing. With so many contributors, it would be invidious to single out some and not name others, and I therefore refer the reader to the conference programme at: What I will say is that the papers were generally of high standard and the level of debate was of quality – this not to mention the multiple and vital fringe conversations that took place between Dylan enthusiasts, in the hotel bar and corridors.

The conference was complemented by the Gilcrease Museum with two excellent exhibitions: ‘Bob Dylan: Face Value and Beyond’, a selection of Dylan’s visual art, including a remarkable set of portraits; and ‘Shakespeare’s in the Alley: A Tribute to Bob Dylan’, an experience around hanging texts of the master’s lyrics, conceived by Wisconsin-based artist Skye.

The atmosphere throughout was warm and convivial, and the conference provided a unique opportunity for Dylan-related networking and sharing of knowledge. This remarkable event will indeed, like Dylan’s John Wesley Harding, have ‘opened many a door’!


Note added 10 January 2020: The paper I gave at this conference, “Dylan the writer at work: on the multiple versions of ‘Dignity’ and the two versions of ‘Ain’t Talkin””, is on-line at:

and has been published in print form in the Dylan zine ‘The Bridge’ (Gateshead, UK): No 64, Winter 2019, pp. 65-77.


From 1998 to 2016, the Bob Dylan Critical Corner site was active,and published a large number of my articles on Bob Dylan. Today in 2019 and on the eve of the upcoming world Dylan conference in Tulsa, I have now restored some thirty of those articles to on-line visbility, on my personal site Yatra. I believe they are as valid today as they were when written – even more so in the light of Dylan’s Nobel – and I hope those reading this will consult or sample, and enjoy them!


The articles are collected under 3 urls at:

Lyric analysis –

Book reviews –

Concert reviews –




Just published is Volume 9, Issue I (2019) of the excellent JOURNAL OF THE ODISHA ASSOCIATION FOR ENGLISH STUDIES, edited ably as ever from Baleswar (Odisha, India) by Dr Santwana Haldar.

Included in this number are, among a wealth of material, articles on Amitav Ghosh, ‘The Hungry Tide’ (Somdatta Mandal), Rabindranath Tagore (Jaydeep Sarangi on ‘The Home and the World’; Asish Kumar Manna on ‘Gitanjali’), Dalit women’s writing (Nadjia Boussebha and Fewzia Bedjaoui), Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Bharati Mukherjee (Wafa Berkat), Odiya women’s short stories (Subrata Debangana), Jhumpa Lahiri (Subhasmita Nanda),, and the teaching of English in Odisha (Subash Chandra Patra; Satyashree Mohanty). Prasanta Kumar Panda reviews Arundhati Roy’s novel ‘The Ministry of Utmost Happiness’ and Santwana Haldar reviews ‘Milkman’, the 2018 Booker-winning novel by Anna Burns. There is also creative writing, including an Odisha-to-English translated story, ‘The Sacred Banyan’ by Bamacharan Mitra.

This should be a fine number of the journal.

My own contributions to this issue are:

Review of Salman Rushdie’s novel “The Golden House”, pp. 158-161 (also on-line at:

Click to access RushdieGoldenHousereview.pdf

(see this blog, entry for 1 February 2018)


‘Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” and Carlos Fuentes’ “Aura”: the fantastic and the feminine in inter-American dialogue’ pp. 39-50 (paper presented at the 5th Conference of the International Association of InterAmerican Studies, Coimbra (Portugal), in March 2018; also on-line at:;

(see this blog, entry for 27 March 2018).