This biography by Ricks boldly and successfully judges Bob Dylan as a poet, not a lyricist, and in his tour-de-force makes endless illuminating comparisons with canonical writers such as Eliot, Hardy, Hopkins and Larkin. There are plenty of books on Dylan particularly as this year (2011) he celebrates his 70th birthday, but this one stands on its own both for its unusual approach and for the virtuosity of its execution. Ricks's scheme, aptly, is to examine Dylan's songs through the biblical concepts of the seven deadly Sins, the four Virtues, and the three Heavenly Graces. He carries it off with panache.
'I consider myself a poet first and a musician second' 'It ain't the melodies that're important man, it's the words' Two quotes from Dylan himself that underline the importance of this book.
Ricks may be the most eminent literary critic of his generation but nobody should feel his book is one of earnest, unapproachable exegesis, on the contrary it has a flamboyance, almost effervescence about it that is captivating.
‘A great case has been made by a great critic (Christopher Ricks) that a great lyricist – Bob Dylan – is, in fact, a poet’ - New York Review of Books
‘Ricks’s writing on Dylan is the best there is’ - Alex Ross, New Yorker
‘A bracing attention to artfulness, a wonderful sensitivity to nuance, and a particularly brilliant sympathy with the purpose and effect of Dylan's rhymes’ - Andrew Motion,
‘Bob Dylan is fast becoming rock's equivalent of James Joyce’ - Sean O'Hagan, Observer
Publication date: 05/05/2011
Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
|Publication date:||5th May 2011|
|Publisher:||Canongate Books Ltd|
|Genres:||Biography / Autobiography, eBook Favourites, Literary Fiction, Poetry,|
|Categories:||Poetry by individual poets,|
Sir Christopher Bruce Ricks, FBA (born 1933) is a British literary critic and scholar. He is the William M. and Sara B. Warren Professor of the Humanities at Boston University (U.S.) and Co-Director of the Editorial Institute at Boston University, and was Professor of Poetry at the University of Oxford from 2004 to 2009. W. H. Auden described Ricks as 'exactly the kind of critic every poet dreams of finding'.More About Christopher Ricks