The Price of Fame: Dylan Thomas, The Beats & Bob Dylan
Date: 10 May 2012, 17:30 - 19:15
Location: Room 2.18, 65-68 Park Place
In celebration of the change of the name of the School from Cardiff School of European Studies to Cardiff School of European Languages, Translation and Politics, the School is inaugurating an annual public lecture to be preceded by a cheese and wine reception.
In 1965 after a gruelling tour schedule Bob Dylan took a brief holiday in Portugal, where he became violently ill with food poisoning, and his enforced convalescence gave him time to reflect. He was completely drained, tired of people telling him how much they adored him, and most of all afraid that his song-writing talent was being destroyed by fame. Just over thirty years before his namesake Dylan Thomas was adored in America for his outrageousness, although his letters betray a certain bitterness about having to be there. He could even get away with mercilessly mocking his audience for being seduced by the allure of fame. He counted himself among the ‘fat poets with slim volumes’, the ‘lyrical one-night standers’ who travelled the length and breadth of the country talking to women’s societies which were equally as enthusiastic about a lecture on ceramics as the ‘modern Turkish novel’. Dylan Thomas epitomised what all the Beat poets, and Bob Dylan after them, aspired to be, famous and able to earn a living outside of the academy. They were nevertheless ambivalent about fame, completely seduced by it, yet raging against the high price it extracted.
David Boucher is Head of the Cardiff School of European Languages, Translation and Politics and is the author of Dylan and Cohen; Poets of Rock and Roll (2004) and the editor with Gary Browning of The Political Art of Bob Dylan (2009) His recent books include The Limits of Ethics in International Relations (pb. 2011), and with Andrew Vincent, The British Idealists: A Guide for the Perplexed (2011).
There will be a cheese and wine reception at 17:30, followed by the lecture at 18:15.
Entrance is free and all are welcome.