"Fools they made a mock of sin." Dylan's is an art in which sins are laid bare (and resisted), virtues are valued (and manifested), and the graces brought home. The seven deadly sins, the four cardinal virtues (harder to remember?), and the three heavenly graces: these make up everybody's world -- but Dylan's in particular. Or rather, his worlds, since human dealings of every kind are his for the artistic seizing. Pride is anatomized in "Like a Rolling Stone," Envy in "Positively 4th Street," Anger in "Only a Pawn in Their Game" ... But, hearteningly, Justice reclaims "Hattie Carroll," Fortitude "Blowin' in the Wind," Faith "Precious Angel," Hope "Forever Young," and Charity "Watered-Down Love."
In The New Yorker, Alex Ross wrote that "Ricks's writing on Dylan is the best there is. Unlike most rock critics -- 'forty-year-olds talking to ten-year-olds,' Dylan has called them -- he writes for adults." In the Times (London), Bryan Appleyard maintained that "Ricks, one of the most distinguished literary critics of our time, is almost the only writer to have applied serious literary intelligence to Dylan ... "
Dylan's countless listeners (and even the artist himself, who knows?) may agree with W.H. Auden that Ricks "is exactly the kind of critic every poet dreams of finding."
About Christopher RicksSee more books from this Author
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 Dylan's Visions of Sin
Ricks (Humanities/Boston Univ.) has penned tomes on Milton, Keats, Eliot, and Tennyson, but he has long been fascinated by Bob Dylan: His 1984 essay “Clichés and American English” was a much-lauded textual reading of the singer-songwriter’s work.| Read Full Review of Dylan's Visions of Sin
Yes, he outright damned — for example, in addressing the Masters of War: Let me ask you one question Is your money that good Will it buy you forgiveness Do you think that it could Will never buy back your soul Continued on the next page Page 1 — Page 2 ...Sep 28 2005 | Read Full Review of Dylan's Visions of Sin
In last year's "Bob Dylan in America," Mr. Wilentz writes of how Mr. Dylan traded influences with the poet Allen Ginsberg, while for the English literary critic Christopher Ricks (who published his book "Dylan's Visions of Sin" in 2004) the man can stand "comparison with the very greatest poets."May 14 2011 | Read Full Review of Dylan's Visions of Sin
In May, while Dylan's people were putting the finishing touches on his upcoming minor league baseball stadium tour with Willie Nelson making sure yogurt, raisins, and Wild Turkey are on the rider at Applebee's Park in Lexington, Ky., possibly Christopher Ricks became professor of poetry at th...Jul 02 2004 | Read Full Review of Dylan's Visions of Sin
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 Dylan's Visions of Sin
Viking £25 pp518Is Bob Dylan as great a poet as John Keats?Sep 14 2003 | Read Full Review of Dylan's Visions of Sin
In addition to the Princeton historian Sean Wilentz's new book, Bob Dylan in America (Doubleday), PublicAffairs will in October release a collection of essays from Greil Marcus—dean of Dylan critics—titled simply Bob Dylan by Greil Marcus: Writings 1968-2010.Sep 05 2010 | Read Full Review of Dylan's Visions of Sin
By ERIC ORMSBY [from Fine Incisions: Essays on Poetry and Place] – Whether writing on Tennyson, Eliot, Housman, Beckett, or many others, Christopher Ricks has always been a critic of exceptional learning and aplomb;Jan 10 2011 | Read Full Review of Dylan's Visions of Sin
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