Right, Bob Dylan is a songwriter, not a page poet, not a novelist (apart from Tarantula, written mid-'60s, published 1971, valorized by only die-hards) or really a page writer at all (apart from the memoir Chronicles Vol. 1, published 2004, valorized by, oh, everyone). So why’d he win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016? (Besides, you know, coining more memorable phrases than anyone this side of Shakespeare or Churchill.) Maybe it’s because he’s such a damn artful storyteller -- when he’s not just stringing together glittering phrases or pouring out his broken heart, Dylan’s got quite a narrative gift, even (or especially) when he filters it through his equally fecund gift for cockeyed surrealism.
Here are five prime examples of Dylan the storyteller, in chronological order.