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Spring 2019

ZONE BOOKS

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New in Rolling Stone Magazine
Real Life Rock Top 10

This week in Rolling Stone, author Greil Marcus selects Bob Dylan’s Poetics: How the Songs Work by Timothy Hampton as a “Real Life Rock Top 10” pick. Click here to learn more about the book. Click here to read Marcus’s full list of picks. An excerpt appears below:

“Timothy Hampton, Bob Dylan’s Poetics: How the Songs Work (Zone Books). Forget the main title; the subtitle describes what happens here. With a style that turns analysis into a form of suspense, Hampton can walk you through ‘Visions of Johanna’ or ‘Summer Days’ the way the art historian T. J. Clark can walk you through Manet’s Olympia. There’s the same generosity of spirit, the same love for the work and the social meanings it absorbs, transforms and sends back, as with Hampton on Dylan’s so-called Sinatra albums of the last few years: ‘Dylan suddenly became a ‘folksinger’ who turned songs that’—like the 19th century composed and copyrighted parlor songs that A. J. Carter re-copyrighted and turned into what everybody embraced as Carter Family songs— ‘were initially thought to be the very opposite of ‘folk songs’ into folk songs.’ Which doesn’t begin to catch the delight Hampton takes in criticism, as with his account of ‘Tombstone Blues’ and the line ‘Ma Rainey and Beethoven once unwrapped a bedroll’ as ‘a rewrite of Chuck Berry’s ‘Roll Over Beethoven’ (now we know we who Ludwig was with when he rolled over).’”