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American Folklore Studies

Keeping America Weird: Folklore Studies and Folk Revival in U.S. Intellectual History

It is 1966. A twenty-five year old Bob Dylan stands, beanpole frame and electric curls illuminated under spotlights, between the instruments of rock ‘n’ roll and his audience of baffled and fuming folk enthusiasts. As Dylan’s one-time fans have done for the past year from San Francisco to Paris, the crowd is booing. “This is a folk song.” Dylan says to them. “I want to sing a folk song now,” he calls above the din. With the incantation “folk song,” Bob Dylan transforms the boos into roaring cheers and applause. “I knew that would make you happy,” he teases.[1] Read more