“He has the whole package: lyrics, melodies, enigmatic, mythical”

Images of Bob Dylan – Results of Questionnaire


  • Jørgen Ellegaard Andersen SDU
  • Anne-Marie Mai SDU
  • Jakob Blaabjerg Møller SDU
  • Shan Shan SDU


Bob Dylan, images of Bob Dylan, Dylan’s fans and followers, uses of Bob Dylan’s songs through life


It is  obvious from public comments about Dylan’s albums and books that his fans and followers have strong feelings about the artist and his songs and that they have often used his songs in different ways. We wanted to explore these images and uses of his songs and asked questions that were designed to reveal the respondents’ thoughts and opinions on Bob Dylan as an artist and how they have used his songs in decisive moments of their lives.

In 2022, we conducted a questionnaire survey to explore Bob Dylan’s image as perceived by his fans and followers. This Dylan questionnaire was part of the research project Uses of Literature (2016–2022, PIs Anne-Marie Mai and Rita Felski, Danish National Research Foundation). In this paper, we analyze the received responses.

Most of the respondents are male, ranging in age from 65 to 70, and the results of this questionnaire give us a picture of Dylan as a male artist appreciated by males. This is important and interesting because it means that the study of Dylan’s songs might help us to get a better understanding of a certain 1950s generation of males and their understanding of the relation between art and life.


Jørgen Ellegaard Andersen, SDU

Professor and Centre Director of Centre for Quantum Mathematics (QM) housing more than 40 international leading researchers at the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at SDU; chair at D:IAS. Holds numerous research grants including a Simons Foundation collaboration grant and he is Lead PI on the ERC-Synergy program ReNewQuantum. He is expert on the mathematical foundation of quantum theory and its application to quantum computing.

Anne-Marie Mai , SDU

Professor of Nordic Literature, the Department of Culture and Language, SDU. Chair at D:IAS, member of the Danish Academy, member of the Academia Europaea, member of the Royal Society of Arts and Science, Göteborg, member of the board of the Bob Dylan Institute, Tulsa. She has published several essays and monographs on Bob Dylan.

Jakob Blaabjerg Møller, SDU

Master of Science Student in Data Science, SDU, Student Research Assistant at the Centre for Quantum Mathematics, SDU

Shan Shan, SDU

Assistant Professor at the Centre for Quantum Mathematics and the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, SDU. She works on the mathematical framework for machine learning and quantum computing, along with their practical applications.





Ellegaard Andersen, J., A.-M. Mai, J. Blaabjerg Møller, og S. Shan. “‘He Has the Whole Package: Lyrics, Melodies, Enigmatic, mythical’ : Images of Bob Dylan – Results of Questionnaire”. Aktualitet - Litteratur, Kultur Og Medier, maj 2024, s. 1-33, https://tidsskrift.dk/aktualitet/article/view/145362.