In 1976, Distinguished Teaching Professor of English Gene Stelzig completed his contribution to a collection of academic essays on Bob Dylan, then watched for the publication of the volume, edited by Patrick Morrow, by the Popular Press.
The Popular Press reneged on the signed agreement and the volume never appeared. “Bob Dylan’s Career as a Blakean Visionary and Romantic,” Stelzig’s essay, thus began its career as bootleg scholarship, quietly circulated among fans and students of Dylan’s work. The essay was quoted several times in Robert Shelton’s biographical study No Direction Home: The Life and Music of Bob Dylan (1986), though misidentified there as an unpublished dissertation.
Since, over the years, Stelzig has happily provided a copy of his essay to anyone who’s requested one, it would probably be more accurate to characterize his work as “privately transmitted open-access scholarship.” In any case, thanks to the Open SUNY Textbook Program, in which Geneseo’s Milne Library has played a leading role, the essay is at long last publicly available open-access scholarship, free for the downloading on the Milne Library website or available in a handsome, print-on-demand edition from Amazon.
“I’m delighted to participate as an open-access author and to have the essay available to anyone who wants to see it, either in print or online,” said Stelzig for SUNY Geneseo’s press release. “The piece has led a sort of underground life for decades in the wake of Robert Shelton listing it in the bibliography of his biography of Dylan, so I’m delighted that Milne Library is making it available and easily accessible to anyone.”