This book offers the definitive study of the work of Bob Dylan, examining his creative persona and philosophy. Few in popular music have had as varied a career and as lasting an impact as Bob Dylan. His songs have entered the cultural consciousness in a way that some have called revolutionary. In this bold and comprehensive new study - the definitive guide to Dylan's work - author Larry David Smith explores the convergence of biography, artistic philosophy, and musical style in Bob Dylan's oeuvre. Making the case that "Bob Dylan" is actually a persona carefully crafted by its maker, Writing Dylan represents a new and authoritative contribution to the study of this key figure of the contemporary era. Having been granted unprecedented use of Dylan's own lyrics in his analysis, Smith interprets Dylan's narratives, characters, plots, and values, and reveals the artist's mission-oriented approach to art. "Writing Dylan" tackles each period of its subject's five-decade career, offering an inventive and unprecedented investigation of Dylan's artistic imperative, cultural significance, and song craft. The result is perhaps the most important work to date on this mercurial figure, whose songs have established a fully realized portrait of his personal mysteries. It represents the definitive study of Bob Dylan's work and boasts unique access granted for the use of Dylan's lyrics. It traces the entire history of Dylan's career in a bold and insightful study and meets renewed interest in Dylan following the publication of his autobiography.