Another one trying to fathom FW
James Joyce is another interesting literary figure in the world of Dylan. He explains in Chronicles
that “James Joyce seemed like the most arrogant man who ever lived, had both his eyes wide open and great faculty of speech, but what he say, I knew not what.” Many readers—or attempted readers—of Finnegan’s Wake
would likely agree. Joyce comes up again, five years later, in Dylan’s 2009 album Together Through Life
, in the track “I Feel a Change Comin’ On”: “I’m listening to Billy Joe Shaver/And I’m reading James Joyce.” Of course, as with Eliot, one can read Joyce and still find his writing impenetrable and still find him to be an arrogant, yet brilliant genius. And, besides that, despite Dylan’s admission over the years that many of his songs are deeply personal (most recently in his latest Rolling Stone
interview), there is no reason to surmise that any song is actually about Dylan himself, and is not merely being sung in character (just as Nicki Minaj, in character, recently voiced support for Mitt Romney as president).