Invisible Now: Bob Dylan in the 1960s: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Invisible Now: Bob Dylan in the 1960s

1st Edition

By John Hughes


256 pages

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Invisible Now describes Bob Dylan's transformative inspiration as artist and cultural figure in the 1960s. Hughes identifies Dylan's creativity with an essential imaginative dynamic, as the singer perpetually departs from a former state of inexpression in pursuit of new, as yet unknown, powers of self-renewal. This motif of temporal self-division is taken as corresponding to what Dylan later referred to as an artistic project of 'continual becoming', and is explored in the book as a creative and ethical principle that underlies many facets of Dylan's appeal. Accordingly, the book combines close discussions of Dylan's mercurial art with related discussions of his humour, voice, photographs, and self-presentation, as well as with the singularities of particular performances. The result is a nuanced account of Dylan's creativity that allows us to understand more closely the nature of Dylan's art, and its links with American culture.


Classified as 'Research Essential' by Baker & Taylor YBP Library Services ’John Hughes has written what can only be described as an essential contribution to the assemblage of works on Bob Dylan. This study of the singer songwriter's 1960s years gathers together a fascinating series of glimpses and overviews presented in an intelligent and highly readable format by a dedicated researcher and enthusiast. John evidences a clear knowledge and understanding of the currents and events driving the young Dylan forward through a decade of relentless change, social and political upheaval and the white heat of artistic fury. A must for all scholars of things Dylan.’ CP Lee, Writer, musician and broadcaster, and author of Bob Dylan: Like The Night ’This is the finest book on Bob Dylan I have ever read - and I've read a lot of them. Hughes strikes me as the only critic to have developed an idiom sophisticated enough to do full justice to the power and subtleties of Dylan's astonishing development in the 1960s.’ Mark Ford, University College London, UK ’This is a powerful and persuasive study of Dylan's career in the 60s. Without forcing Dylan's work into any simple container, John Hughes reveals subtle continuities running through Dylan early to late, the sum total of which provide an enlightening vision of Dylan's musical and psychological sensitivity to questions of self, other, tradition, and artistic expression. The consummate artist Hughes discovers will be familiar to all of us who have followed Dylan since the early sixties, while also opening up entire new realms of meaning and significance in his work.’ Russell Reising, University of Toledo, USA 'Hughes rejects the familiar idea of a Dylan who adopts a series of masks… Rather, he enacts a continual sense of indeterminacy and contingency, so that in refusing all identity he challenges our own… In this light, Hughes offers an intriguing account of the key albums of Dylan’s first and most fruitful de

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Part 1 Themes: ’Continual becoming’; Humour; Photographs; Voice; Leave taking; Aversiveness; Inspiration. Part 2 The 1960s: ’Mind like a trap’: Bob Dylan, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, The Times They Are A-Changin’; ’Weird monkey’: Another Side of Bob Dylan and Bringing It All Back Home; ’There is no eye’: Highway 61 Revisited; ’Trapeze artist’: Blonde on Blonde; ’Ghosts passing through on their way to Tangiers’: The Basement Tapes; ’Not too far but just far enough so’s we can say we’ve been there’: John Wesley Harding and Nashville Skyline; Notes; Select bibliography; Index.

About the Author

John Hughes teaches literature at the University of Gloucestershire, UK. He has published widely on Romantic and nineteenth-century literature, and twentieth-century philosophy. He has written three previous books - Lines of Flight (1996), ’Ecstatic Sound’: Music and Individuality in the Work of Thomas Hardy (Ashgate, 2001) and Affective Worlds: Literature, Feeling, Nineteenth-Century Literature (2011).

About the Series

Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series

Popular musicology embraces the field of musicological study that engages with popular forms of music, especially music associated with commerce, entertainment and leisure activities. The Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series aims to present the best research in this field. Authors are concerned with criticism and analysis of the music itself, as well as locating musical practices, values and meanings in cultural context. The focus of the series is on popular music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with a remit to encompass the entirety of the world’s popular music.

Critical and analytical tools employed in the study of popular music are being continually developed and refined in the twenty-first century. Perspectives on the transcultural and intercultural uses of popular music have enriched understanding of social context, reception and subject position. Popular genres as distinct as reggae, township, bhangra, and flamenco are features of a shrinking, transnational world. The series recognizes and addresses the emergence of mixed genres and new global fusions, and utilizes a wide range of theoretical models drawn from anthropology, sociology, psychoanalysis, media studies, semiotics, postcolonial studies, feminism, gender studies and queer studies.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / Genres & Styles / Rock