Today and Tomorrow and Yesterday, Too

Rough and Rowdy Ways/ “Murder Most Foul” (2020), Bob Dylan, and Late Style Studies


  • Nina Goss Fordham University


Bob Dylan, “Mother of Muses”, “Murder Most Foul”, late style studies


This paper aims to bring Bob Dylan into the growing academic and critical discourses of late style studies and reconsider the conventional narrative of the punctuated decline of Dylan’s genius. However exhilarating and sometimes magisterial Dylan’s post-1960s work may be, it remains a landscape of peaks and valleys shadowed by the earlier work. I argue that we can posit Dylan—partly due to his innovative bricolage composition methods and complex new registers in the post-2000 work—as a champion in the late style arena. Usually focusing on exemplars in music and the plastic arts such as Beethoven, Goya, Monet, and Louise Nevelson, late style critics ranging from Georg Simmel in the 19th century, through Theodor Adorno, Edward Said, Kenneth Clark, and others, insist on a radical reinvention of form in service to late-life consciousness. With a focus on “Mother of Muses” (2020) and “Murder Most Foul” (2020), I hope to show that late Dylan has recast his signature embodiment of other voices and texts into a new historical consciousness that questions both narrative and ethical coherence in our historiographies. Dylan has always been an artist of and for his time and current late Dylan is bringing that identity to a challenging climax.


Nina Goss, Fordham University

Nina Goss (PhD, MFA) is currently an adjunct professor at Fordham University. She is co-editor of and contributor to Tearing the World Apart: Bob Dylan and the Twenty-First Century (University of Mississippi Press, 2017), and Dylan at Play (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2011). She was founder and editor of the print journal Montague Street: The Art of Bob Dylan. She has presented at numerous symposia and conferences, including most recently the 2022 conference, “Dylan and the Beats,” organized by the Bob Dylan Institute at Tulsa.





Goss, N. “Today and Tomorrow and Yesterday, Too : Rough and Rowdy Ways/ ‘Murder Most Foul’ (2020), Bob Dylan, and Late Style Studies”. Aktualitet - Litteratur, Kultur Og Medier, bd. 17, nr. 3, november 2023, s. 4-15,