09/15/2010 11:35 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Stephen Colbert To Author Sean Wilentz About Bob Dylan: 'He's No Britney' (VIDEO)

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Author Sean Wilentz, professor of history at Princeton, has written books on Jefferson, Jackson and Reagan, but he most recently tackled the topic of another famous American of a different sort: Bob Dylan. Wilentz discussed his new book, "Bob Dylan In America," with Stephen Colbert last night, where the two debated whether Dylan is the "greatest American songwriter of the last 50 years," as Wilentz claimed on the show.

"What's the big deal? We hear him and we go, 'eh,'" Colbert said. "He's no Britney. Can he pop that coochie? I don't think he can."

The son of a Greenwich Village bookstore owner, Wilentz explained that his "strange background" clued him in to the importance of Dylan to American culture.

"Bob Dylan's music meant a lot to me as a young man, growing up, as it did for many men of my generation," Wilentz said, who is currently 59 years old.

"So, what is it about Dylan that people of your ilk and age get all weak about?" Colbert asked.

Wilentz explained the significance of the fact that Dylan, unlike many other singers of that era, wrote all of his own songs and can be considered "a poet as well as a songwriter."

With that, Colbert asked, "For the young people out there, if they had to get into Bob Dylan with a single album, would you go to 'Blonde On Blonde' or 'Blood On The Tracks' or go straight to his new Christmas album?"

Find out what Wilentz had to say, WATCH:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Sean Wilentz
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