Bob Dylan Lyrics – for German speakers: a beautiful little artefact

 On a recent trip to Berlin – surely Europe’s most exciting city – I picked up Bob Dylan Lyrics, a tiny book which reproduces the (English) lyrics of about 50 songs, with a short essay on each.

I bought the book simply because it looks so good – of all the volumes on my Bob shelves, it’s one of the most striking.

(Like most readers, I already have all the lyrics in the official books and would struggle to understand the German text anyway, so I bought it purely as an attractive artefact.)

It’s always been a puzzle just how listeners can fully appreciate great writing in a language other than their mother tongue – for example, my French is fairly good, but there’s no way I appreciate the subtlety of great French writers like Camus, Baudelaire or Balzac.

This book shows the way, by translating key words and phrases, especially those which might prove difficult for German readers.

Bravo Heinrich Detering and Reclam publishers!

Bob Dylan Lyrics, translated by Heinrich Detering, 2008, Philipp Reclam jun Stuttgart, 155pp, euro4.60, ISBN 978-3-15-019741-7

Bob Dylan Lyrics, translated by Heinrich Detering is the 142nd book added to my groaning Dylan bookshelf.


Gerry Smith



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