Bob Dylan by Greil Marcus by Greil Marcus
Writings 1968-2010

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Synopsis

The book begins in Berkeley in 1968, and ends with a piece on Dylan’s show at the University of Minnesota—his very first appearance at his alma mater—on election night 2008. In between are moments of euphoric discovery: From Marcus’s liner notes for the 1967 Basement Tapes (pop music’s most famous bootlegged archives) to his exploration of Dylan’s reimagining of the American experience in the 1997 Time Out of Mind. And rejection; Marcus’s Rolling Stone piece on Dylan’s album Self Portrait—often called the most famous record review ever written—began with “What is this shit?” and led to his departure from the magazine for five years. Marcus follows not only recordings but performances, books, movies, and all manner of highways and byways in which Bob Dylan has made himself felt in our culture.

Together the dozens of pieces collected here comprise a portrait of how, throughout his career, Bob Dylan has drawn upon and reinvented the landscape of traditional American song, its myths and choruses, heroes and villains. They are the result of a more than forty-year engagement between an unparalleled singer and a uniquely acute listener.

 

About Greil Marcus

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Greil Marcus is the author of Bob Dylan by Greil Marcus, When that Rough God Goes Riding, The Shape of Things to Come, Mystery Train, Dead Elvis, In the Fascist Bathroom, Double Trouble, Like a Rolling Stone, and The Old Weird America; a twentieth anniversary edition of his book Lipstick Traces was published in 2009. With Werner Sollors he is the editor of A New Literary History of America, published last year by Harvard University Press. Since 2000 he has taught at Princeton, Berkeley, Minnesota, and the New School in New York; his column "Real Life Rock Top 10" appears regularly in The Believer. He has lectured at U Cal, Berkeley, The Whitney Museum of Art, and Princeton University. He lives in Berkeley.
 
Published October 19, 2010 by PublicAffairs. 514 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Bob Dylan by Greil Marcus

Kirkus Reviews

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His four thematic chapters “attempt to elucidate the difficult pleasure that is Dylan, with his nasal voice, oblique lyrics, complicated relation to race, and controversial appropriation of words and music.” Obviously passionate about his subject, on whom he teaches a course, Yaffe writes that “w...

Apr 05 2011 | Read Full Review of Bob Dylan by Greil Marcus: Wr...

Kirkus Reviews

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In one review, Marcus assails some writing in Dylan’s memoir Chronicles Volume 1 (2004), saying, “That line calls attention to itself.” The same could be said for almost the entire corpus of the author’s work about Dylan.

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The New York Times

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Later on, though, his account of how Dylan used a ballad by the 1920s crooner Gene Austin as the basis for his song “Sugar Baby,” presented here as an instance of what I took to be Yaffe’s original reporting, turns out to have been laid out in greater detail by the Dylan biographer Clinton Heylin...

Jun 03 2011 | Read Full Review of Bob Dylan by Greil Marcus: Wr...

The Guardian

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About a year earlier Dylan had composed and sung in the course of The Basement Tapes sessions – about which Marcus wrote brilliantly in an earlier book on Dylan called Invisible Republic – the perfect response to all the unrequited longing that had built up during "three years of memories, of wai...

May 14 2011 | Read Full Review of Bob Dylan by Greil Marcus: Wr...

Publishers Weekly

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In his latest book on Dylan (after Like a Rolling Stone), veteran rock writer Marcus gathers his writings on the icon's long and varied career.

Nov 01 2010 | Read Full Review of Bob Dylan by Greil Marcus: Wr...

Review (Barnes & Noble)

"The pieces collected here," writes Greil Marcus in the introduction to his just-published new book, Bob Dylan by Greil Marcus: Writings 1968-2010, "begin with a rumor and end with a presidential election.

Oct 19 2010 | Read Full Review of Bob Dylan by Greil Marcus: Wr...

PopMatters

In “Where I Came In”, the introduction to his recent Bob Dylan By Greil Marcus, Marcus suggests that Dylan spent half his career trying to escape the mythology he drew around himself like a cloak in the early years.

Dec 02 2011 | Read Full Review of Bob Dylan by Greil Marcus: Wr...

The New York Review of Books

In the introduction to his new book, Marcus recalls seeing Dylan perform for the first time in the summer of 1963, “in a field in New Jersey.” Among the songs Dylan played was “With God on Our Side,” which opens: Oh my name it is nothin’ My age it means less Dylan, Marcus writes, did seem agele...

Nov 25 2010 | Read Full Review of Bob Dylan by Greil Marcus: Wr...

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