A couple days ago I was reading Pynchon's Crying of Lot 49 for like the eighth time and noticed a marginal comment I must have made on the sixth or seventh: Sounds like a Dylan list "Hard Rain"? So I flew back to the song. The time-frame is right. The song was recorded 12.3.62 and released on Freewheelin' 5.27.63. And CL49 was published 3.66. And Dylan was in the air. And, though I've found no evidence of such, it's at least possible that Pynchon could have encountered Dylan on the West coast, via Richard Fariña ... maybe ... not that that would have been necessary for some dylanic influence to have been exerted on TP. Like I said, Dylan's stuff was everywhere.
Here's the passage from CL49. It's in the midst of Oedipa's night journey in chapter 5:
So it went. Oedipa played the voyeur and listener. Among her other encounters were a facially-deformed welder, who cherished his ugliness; a child roaming the night who missed the death before birth as certain outcasts do the dear lulling blankness of the community; a Negro woman with an intricately-marbled scar along the baby-fat of one cheek who kept going through rituals of miscarriage each for a different reason, deliberately as others might the ritual of birth, dedicated not to continuity but to some kind of interregnum; an aging night-watchman, nibbling at a bar of Ivory Soap, who had trained his virtuoso stomach to accept also lotions, air-fresheners, fabrics, tobaccoes and waxes in a hopeless attempt to assimilate it all, all the promise, productivity, betrayal, ulcers, before it was too late; and even another voyeur, who hung outside one of the city's still-lighted windows, searching for who knew what specific image. (100)
So where have you been, my blue-eyed son? It's that listing and the surreal expansions of the welder, the child, the Negro woman, the night-watchman, the voyeur who seemed to have stepped out of Dylan's lyrics ... if not "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall" then others - maybe from Bringing It All Back Home (3.22.65).
Well, tonight I started watching Dr. Strangelove (1964) but felt such a wave of dread that I had to stop. And I turned again to Dylan's song, and it didn't help. More dread ... even with the firm (even upbeat?) resolution of the last verse:
Oh, what'll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what'll you do now, my darling young one?
I'm a-goin' back out 'fore the rain starts a-fallin',
I'll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest,
Where the people are many and their hands are all empty,
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters,
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison,
Where the executioner's face is always well hidden,
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten,
Where black is the color, where none is the number,
And I'll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it,
And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it,
Then I'll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin',
But I'll know my song well before I start singin',
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall
I'm not sure what all this amounts to ... maybe it's just a close-up of a knot of things that produced a feeling ... And it's not just about the whacked out perilous sixties. Somehow it's right here & now, too. Got to wrestle with this some more, maybe with the seniors tomorrow.