Why Does Bob Dylan Steal?

October 20, 2014 2:29 PM

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Bob Dylan likes to use other people's words, and images. Some people object to this. Robert Warmuth called him "Bob Charlatan." Joni Mitchell called him a plagiarist: "Everything about Bob is a deception." Michael Gray found Dylan's paintings unimaginative: "It may not be plagiarism but it's surely copying rather a lot."

Others don't mind Dylan's appropriations. Suzanne Vega explained that "it's modern to use history as a kind of closet in which we can rummage around, pull influences from other eras." Robert Polito observed that criticizing Dylan ignored the fact "that we've just come though some two and a half deca...

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