on 22 June 2013
As a dylan fan who has read over 40 dylan books, this book is as good as it gets. He marries Dylan's work with the rebellious times of the 1960's. His analysis of the lyrics linked to the era, gives a superb in-depth analysis of the changing times. Furthermore, right up to Dylan's current work marquee still shows Dylan's political awareness, although not overtly. Strongly recommended to anyone with an interest in American social history.
on 29 June 2004
This is the third book on Dylan I have read in the last couple of weeks, and by coincidence they all take quite different approaches that serve to sharpen the contrasts in how Dylan's lyrics are interpreted. The first two, by Marqusee and Ricks are essentially contextualist. Ricks' context is the canon of Anglo Saxon poetry and literature which, I presume, he thinks enables us to understand better Dylan's lyrics (his choice of what is great poetry in Dylan is eccentric). Maqusee takes a different form of contextualism, and sees the events, political and social as providing the context for understanding Bob Dylan's kyrics. I found his elaboration on political events and movements extremely illuminating, but at times they were not wholly integrated and appeared instead as juxapostions against the lyrics rather than clarifactions of them. The third book is on both Dylan and Leonard Cohen (much underrated in the States but huge in Europe). The author, I see, has also edited a book with Gary Browning due out in November 2004 with a similr title to Marqusee's The Political Art of Bob Dylan). Boucher in his Dylan and Cohen appraises the two types of contextualism just mentioned, and with reference to the statements of Dylan and Cohen show how referents often serve to obscure rather than illuminate meaning. In many of the songs it is the images rather than the meanings that are evocative. Here a prime example would be 'Desolution Row'. Anyway, all three books are well worth a read