The Ballad

Bob Dylan’s “Boots of Spanish Leather” (1153-4) is a popular or folk ballad. 

According to M.H. Abrams’ A Glossary of Literary Terms, the typical popular ballad “is dramatic, condensed, and impersonal: the narrator begins with the climactic episode, tells the story tersely by means of action and dialogue (sometimes by means of the dialogue alone), and tells it without self-reference or the expression of personal attitudes or feelings.”

Try to listen for these components:

Here’s Joan Baez’s version:

Recommended reading/listening:

Pete Seeger’s “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” (1152-3).  This is Joan Baez performing the song at the Kennedy Center in 1994:

Notice the “ubi sunt” motif.

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