Controlling the Reader - Omission as Literary Device in Bob Dylan's Topical Songs
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Bob Dylan received the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition". The announcement sparked a discussion on the boundaries of the concept of literature, but also about the nature of the author. The purpose of this thesis is to shed light on Bob Dylan’s construction of songs using real events and people, i.e, his topical songs, in which the boundaries between personal ethics and law, subjective truth and objective reality have caused much controversy for the artist. Using Wolfgang Iser’s theory on interaction between reader and text, the analysis finds that omission, the creation of gaps, used as a literary device both in text and in the construction of the Dylan persona, was employed to control the reader’s response on these songs.