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Comments on Is there any cultural background in Bob Dylan's "Boots of Spanish leather" final desire?

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Is there any cultural background in Bob Dylan's "Boots of Spanish leather" final desire?

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I recently discovered Boots of Spanish Leather, a 1963 song by Bob Dylan through Joan Baez's cover in Any Day Now (1968).

Its lyrics really moved me, so I tried to understand them deeply. The Wikipedia article (linked above) explains the meaning perfectly:

The song is written as a dialogue, with the first six stanzas alternating between the two lovers; however, the last two stanzas are both given by the lover who has been left behind.

However, what gives the name to the song is:

She writes, asking whether her lover would like any gift and he refuses, stating that he only wants her back. Towards the end it becomes clear that she is not returning, and she finally writes saying she may never come back. Her lover comes to realize what has happened and finally gives her a material request: "Spanish boots of Spanish leather".

Maybe because I live in Spain, or maybe because a Spanish boots per se don't sound any special, I would like to know if there is some cultural background in this reference. Were Spanish boots and/or Spanish leather part of some kind of trend, or a motto to people just traveling? Was there any hidden meaning of those?

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2 comment threads

Meaning of "Spanish boot" (2 comments)
Good question. (1 comment)
Meaning of "Spanish boot"
gmcgath‭ wrote 8 months ago

A "Spanish boot" is a torture device. The term has been applied to several instruments of torture that operate on different principles. The boot may be tightened with screws, with or without spikes inside, or it may be porous and have boiling water or other hot liquids poured on it.

http://www.artandpopularculture.com/Spanish_boots

If this is what Dylan refers to, the protesting lover may be saying, in effect, "You're torturing me!"

fedorqui‭ wrote 8 months ago

That is an interesting insight I was not aware of, @gmcgath‭. And was it such a cultural reference of enough "power" to be understood like this?

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