I've written a little book about the similarities I discovered between Bob Dylan and the eleventh century Hebrew poet: Shmuel Hanagid. Both poets are/were giants in their time, important innovators with countless followers. In this age and time it is easy to know Bob Dylan, he is all over YouTube, he still performs about a hundred shows a year and he sings and writes in English and was awarded the Nobel prize for Literature in 2016.
To know Shmuel Hanagid is a little harder; he's not on YouTube, he writes in Hebrew and he lived about a thousand years ago in Spain. How could he and Dylan have possibly anything in common?
Well, that's what my book is about.
You'd be surprised.
For centuries Jewish scholars knew that Hanagid was one of the greatest poets of the Golden Age of Hebrew poetry (950-1492), although very little of his poetry survived. He was mentioned often by his contemporaries, but there was very little proof. All that changed in the nineteen twenties when his work was discovered and published in London in 1934. Translations into English followed.
Peter Cole and Hillel Halkin are two important translators who have made Hanagid's poetry accessible to English readers.
And it just so happened I was reading these translations of Hanagid and listening to Dylan's 2006 album Modern Times, that I discovered the similarities between these two giants. I wanted to share them with you. That's why I put it down in this book. It's for me and my friends I wrote this book, for Dylan fans, Dylan aficionados and others. Coming out soon.