REVIEWS OF MY BOOK ‘READ BOOKS, REPEAT QUOTATIONS: THE LITERARY BOB DYLAN’

My recent book, ‘Read Books, Repeat Quotations : The Literary Bob Dylan’, has attracted favourable reviews,

and I am pleased to share details of the following: 

Review by Dave Junker, The Dylan Review, Vol 3 No 2, Fall/Winter 2021-2022, pp. 9-16.

Review by Jesús López-Pelaez Casellas, Theory in Action (Transformative Studies Institute, USA), Vol 15 No 1, 2022, pp. 99-102.

Click to access 10.3798tia.1937-0237.2208.pdf

Review by Bob Jope, The Bridge (Gateshead, UK), No 71, Winter 2021, pp. 107-11

The Dylan Review is an online-only journal. Theory in Action exists both online and in print. The Bridge is only available in print form, but see its website at : http://www.two-riders.co.uk/

There is also a brief notice on Michael Gray’s Facebook page for 8 January 2022, as part of a post entitled ‘Books Read in 2021’ :

I am very grateful to all for their appreciation of my work !

Details of my book are :

Christopher Rollason, ‘Read Books, Repeat Quotations’: The Literary Bob Dylan, Gateshead (UK), Two Riders, 2021 – 221 pp., paperback, ISBN 978-1-9196390-0-0

And see :

http://www.two-riders.co.uk/rollason.html

MICHAEL GRAY, ‘OUTTAKES ON BOB DYLAN’ – MY REVIEW IN THE DYLAN REVIEW 3.2.

I have reviewed Michael Gray’s excellent essay collection ‘Outtakes on Bob Dylan: Selected Writings 1967-2021’ (Pontefract: Route, 2021), in the Dylan Review 3.2 (Fall 2021 – Winter 2022), pp. 45-52, at : https://thedylanreview.org/2022/01/15/review-of-outtakes-on-bob-dylan-selected-writings-1967-2021/

I hope this review of a book by a major Dylan scholar will be of interest to Dylanites generally.

This Dylan Review issue is extremely interesting and, alert to new events in the Dylan world, contains, among much more, reviews of Dylan’s film Shadow Kingdom and the latest Bootleg Series (No 16), Springtime in New York and a joint review of the recent Emma Swift and Chrissie Hynde cover albums.

The journal is at: https://thedylanreview.org/

The issue also features Dave Junker’s review of my own book ‘Read Books, Repeat Quotations: The Literary Bob Dylan’, for which see a separate entry on this blog!

Chrissie Hynde’s Live Homage to Bob Dylan – London, 26 December 2021

On the evening of Boxing Day 2021, Chrissie Hynde, best known as the vocalist of the classic group the Pretenders, offered the world a concert streamed from the Royal Opera House in London. It featured 17 songs, nine of them by Bob Dylan. The US-born, UK-resident singer performed the same nine Dylan compositions as on her album Standing in the Doorway released earlier this year, in the same order but with the added spontaneity and immediacy that comes from live performance, certainly when the artist gives it their all as Chrissie Hynde did that night:

https://chrissiehynde.veeps.com (at time of writing, stream available till 2 January 2022)

LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 29: Chrissie Hynde performs at The Royal Opera House on July 29, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Joseph Okpako/WireImage )

The artist’s song selection for CD and concert reveals an in-depth knowledge of Dylan’s work and an emphasis away from his better-known earlier work. The songs were, in order: ‘In the Summertime’, ‘You’re A Big Girl Now’, ‘Standing in the Doorway’, ‘Sweetheart Like You’, ‘Blind Willie McTell’, ‘Love Minus Zero/No Limit’, ‘Don’t Fall Apart on Me Tonight’, ‘Tomorrow is a Long Time’ and ‘Every Grain of Sand’ – thus, two from the 60s, one from Blood on the Tracks (1975), all of five from the Shot of Love/Infidels period (1981/83) and one from Time Out of Mind (1997).

The songs were performed in line with the original lyrics, with no stanzas left out and, interestingly, with two divergences from Dylan’s own main album versions removed as compared with Hynde’s own CD. In ‘Don’t Fall Apart On Me Tonight’, ‘Saint James Street’ is restored from from Infidels, whereas the CD had ‘Napoleon Street’, as in Dylan’s drafts of the song recently released on The Bootleg Series vol. 16; and in ‘Sweetheart Like You’ the first half of the second stanza, on the CD altered to restore lines (‘You know, conmen don’t need strangers …’) that Dylan sings on the draft released on that same volume 16, is changed back to what appeared on Infidels (‘you know I once knew a woman who looked like you …’). For ‘Every Grain of Sand’, choosing from Dylan’s alternate lines at the end she prefers ‘reality of man’, as on Shot of Love, to ‘perfect finished plan’. Chrissie Hynde has thus done her homework: she has made her choices and shown herself to be conversant with the history of the songs.

It is difficult to point up standout performances with a set of so uniformly high a standard and a vocalist so very much inside the songs, articulating Dylan’s words with such care. However, an elegiac ‘Tomorrow is a Long Time’, a contemplative ‘Every Grain of Sand’ and a doom-laden ‘Blind Willie McTell’ were particularly impressive. Hynde’s choice of ‘Every Grain of Sand’ to end her Dylan selection gels nicely with Dylan’s own recourse to the same song as encore in his most recent tour setlist.

The remainder of the concert offered diverse material including Pretenders numbers, notably two Ray Davies songs famously covered by the group, ‘Stop Your Sobbing’ and ‘I Go To Sleep’, and, as encore and in French, Charles Trenet’s ‘Que reste-t-il de nos amours?’. All were well performed, but it is a fair guess that most spectators will remember this concert for the Dylan material. As Chrissie Hynde said from the stage at one point, ‘it’s all in the writing’ …

‘MI CLAVE’: EL FLAMENCO EN LUXEMBURGO / ‘MY KEY’: FLAMENCO IN LUXEMBOURG

El 26 de noviembre de 2021 tuvo lugar, en el centro cultural Kulturfabrik de Esch-sur-Alzette (Luxemburgo) y bajo la égida de ese centro y del Círculo Cultural Español Antonio Machado, un recital de flamenco protagonizado por el guitarrista y compositor Manuel de la Luz, bajo el título genérico de MI CLAVE. En realidad se trata de una extensión del XV Festival Flamenco de Esch: ese evento nació en 2006 y ha sido repetido anualmente, excepción hecha por el año pasado cuando tuvo que ser anulado debido a la pandemia. Afortunadamente este año fue posible montar algo, aunque de una forma más reducida que la habitual, y ahora tuvimos este espectáculo ante nuestros ojos.

Manuel de la Luz, nativo de Huelva y discípulo del célebre Manolo Sanlúcar, es un guitarrista excepcional, y él y sus acompañantes se empeñaron con fuerza para dar todo a fin de crear un espectáculo memorable. Sus colaboradores fueron, en el canto, su esposa Olivia Molina, Paco Vega en batería, Fran Roca (flauta, armónica, segunda guitarra), y Felipe Mato en el baile.

Las músicas interpretadas coinciden con el último disco de Manuel de la Luz, también con el título MI CLAVE. La atmósfera en el recinto fue cálida y a la vez relajada. Así y a pesar de todos los factores de que sabemos, fue posible traer una dosis del espíritu andaluz a estas tierras del Norte …

On 26 November 2021 the Kulturfabrik cultural centre in Esch-sur-Alzette (Luxembourg) hosted, under its own auspices and those of the Círculo Cultural Español Antonio Machado, a flamenco recital featuring the guitarist and composer Manuel de la Luz, under the title MI CLAVE (MY KEY). In reality it was an extension of the Fifteenth Flamenco Festival of Esch. That event was born in 2006 and has been repeated annually, with the exception of last year when it had to be cancelled owing to the pandemic. Fortunately this year something was possible, albeit on a less extensive scale than usual, and now here in front of our eyes was this spectacle!

Manuel de la Luz, a native of Huelva and disciple of the celebrated Manolo Sanlúcar, is an exceptional guitarist, and he and his companions gave all they had in a memorable performance. His collaborators were: his wife Olivia Molina (vocals), Paco Vega (percussion), Fran Roca (flute, harmonica, second guitar), and Felipe Mato (dance).

The pieces interpreted coincide with the most recent CD release by Manuel de la Luz, also entitled MI CLAVE. The atmosphere in the venue was warm and at the same time relaxed. Thus and in spite of the circumstances of which we are all aware, it was possible to transport a dose of the spirit of Andalusia to these northern lands …

Fotos por / photos by Hilda Hurtado

‘IN DIALOGUE WITH SARAMAGO’ – SECOND EDITION

I am pleased to note that the collective volume from 2006, In Dialogue with Saramago: Essays in Comparative Literature, which brings together a range of essays from a comparative perspective on the work of the Portuguese Nobel laureate José Saramago, has now been reissued in a second edition. Details are:

In Dialogue with Saramago: Essays in Comparative Literature, eds. Mark Sabine and Adriana Alves de Paula Martins,

Firsr edition;

Manchester: University of Manchester, 2006 (Manchester Spanish and Portuguese Studies, 18)

Second edition:

London: SPLASH Editions (Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies in the Humanities), 2021

The text of the essays has not been changed. I should add that the volume includes my own contribution: Christopher Rollason, ‘How totalitarianism begins at home: Saramago and George Orwell’, 105-120.

Writers of the stature and lucidity of Saramago are rare, and the reissue of this volume with its multiple perspectives merits a warm welcome from his many students and admirers.

Note: for the first edition, see entries on this blog for 30 May 2006, 26 July 2006 and 7 January 2007.

COLLECTIVE VOLUME ‘ANTHOLOGIZING POE’ REVIEWED IN SPAIN

The collective volume ‘Anthologizing Poe’ (edited by Emron Esplin and Margarida Vale de Gato) which I mentioned in a blog post here last month as having been honoured with the Poe Studies Association’s J. Lasley Dameron Award (and in which I participated with an article) has now received a favourable review.

Details of book reviewed: Emron Esplin and Margarida Vale do Gato (eds.), Anthologizing Poe: Editions, Translations and (Trans)National Canons, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania: Lehigh University Presss / Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2020

Details of review:

Revista de estudios norteamericanos (Seville), Vol. 25, 2021; reviewer: José Manuel Correoso Ródenas, Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha; on-line at:

https://revistascientificas.us.es/index.php/ESTUDIOS_NORTEAMERICANOS/article/view/15756

I will log more reviews as they appear!

EDGAR ALLAN POE: PRIZE-WINNING BOOK ‘ANTHOLOGIZING POE’

Each year, the Poe Studies Association’s J. Lasley Dameron Award honours an outstanding essay collection or bibliography in the field of Edgar Allan Poe studies. For 2020, I am pleased to report that the award went to the essay collection:

Emron Esplin and Margarida Vale do Gato (eds.), Anthologizing Poe: Editions, Translations and (Trans)National Canons, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania: Lehigh University Presss / Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2020,– details at:

https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781611462586/Anthologizing-Poe-Editions-Translations-and-(Trans)National-Canons

This volume includes my chapter:

‘Popular Poe Anthologies in the United Kingdom and France’ (pp. 277-292)

(see my blog entry from 26 August 2020 at: https://rollason.wordpress.com/2020/08/26/anthologizing-edgar-allan-poe-new-essay-collection/)

I am delighted at this award, as I am sure the editors and fellow collaborators are too!

My new book – ‘Read Books, Repeat Quotations’: The Literary Bob Dylan

I am delighted to announce the publication of my new book on Bob Dylan! Information is at:

http://www.two-riders.co.uk/rollason.html

on the site of the independent publisher Two Riders:

http://www.two-riders.co.uk/

Christopher Rollason, ‘Read Books, Repeat Quotations’: The Literary Bob Dylan, Gateshead (UK), Two Riders, 2021 – 221 pp., paperback, ISBN 978-1-9196390-0-0

This book is the distillation of years of listening to – and writing about – Bob Dylan. The majority of the pieces in this book are revised and updated versions of material that has been published before, on-line or in print (or both), while others are new. It is prefaced by the distinguished Dylan scholar Stephen Scobie.

CHAPTERS

  1. Dylan and the Nobel
  2. Bob Dylan’s Dream
  3. Lay Down Your Weary Tune / Every Grain of Sand
  4. Desolation Row
  5. Shelter from the Storm
  6. Señor (Tales of Yankee Power)I
  7. Man in the Long Black Coat
  8. Dignity / Ain’t Talkin’
  9. Red River Shore
  10. Murder Most Foul
  11. Dylan and Edgar Allan Poe
  12. Dylan and Salman Rushdie
  13. Dylan studies: the future

Note added 26 October 2021:

Copies of the book are now in: the Bob Dylan archive in Tulsa, the library of my alma mater Trinity College, Cambridge, and Cambridge University Library – for the last-named, see:

The Dylan Review, Vol. 3.1, Summer 2021

The by now well-established Dylan Review has a new issue online – Vol. 3.1, Summer 2021, at:

The various authors scrutinise multiple aspects of Bob Dylan’s work. The issue opens with a timely multi-author set of tributes to the artist on his 80th birthday, by Anne Marie Mai, Timothy Hampton, Alessandro Portelli, Michael Gray, Alessandro Carrera, Andrew Muir and John Hughes. Jacqueline Osherow contributes a tribute poem. The articles include pieces on Dylan and Wallace Stevens (Jim Salvucci) and the influence of evangelist Hal Lindsey on the Christian Dylan (Jeffrey Lamp), and an in-depth analysis of ‘Gates of Eden’ (Sarah Gates). David Thurmaeir reviews the recently issued three-disc set Bob Dylan 1970, while the books reviewed include Luca Grossi’s Bob Dylan in Hell: Songs in Dialogue with Dante and Alessandro Portelli’s Bob Dylan, pioggia e vento: ‘Hard Rain’, una ballata fra tradizione e modernità (both reviewed by Michele Ulisse Lipparini); Jim Curtis’s Decoding Dylan (reviewed by John H. Serembus); and The World of Bob Dylan, edited by Sean Latham (reviewed by Christopher Rollason).

The last-named review being by myself, I have posted on it in a separate entry on this blog (today’s date).     

Reviewed: The World of Bob Dylan, edited by Sean Latham

Published in the latest volume of the Dylan Review (3.1, Summer 2021, pp. 37-47) is my review of:

Sean Latham (ed.), The World of Bob Dylan, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2021, xix + 349 pp., ISBN 978-1-108-49951-4

The review can be found online at: https://thedylanreview.org/2021/07/25/review-of-the-world-of-bob-dylan/. For DR 3.1 as a whole, see my note on this blog (today’s date).

A extract from the review and summary of the book chapters follow.

EXTRACT

The volume under review is a multi-author study of the figure and work of Bob Dylan from an extremely wide range of points of view. It is edited by Sean Latham, Walter Professor of English and Director of the Institute for Bob Dylan Studies at the University of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Tulsa – also home to the Bob Dylan Archive and the Woody Guthrie Center – hosted the major conference held from 30 May to 2 June 2019 under the title ‘The World of Bob Dylan’ (in which this reviewer was a participant), although it should be stressed that this volume, despite the shared name, is not the proceedings of that conference. It may also be useful here to distinguish between: the Institute for Bob Dylan Studies (an academic research cell); the Bob Dylan Archive (a collection of over 100,000 objects for consultation on appointment, purchased in 2016 by Tulsa’s George Kaiser Family Foundation in partnership with the University of Tulsa, and held at the city’s Gilcrease Museum); and the Bob Dylan Center (to be the public face of Dylan in Tulsa, scheduled for opening to the general public in 2022).

The World of Bob Dylan is presented as ‘the first published project to emerge from the Institute for Bob Dylan Studies’. It brings together 28 texts (introduction, chronology and 26 chapters proper) by a total of 26 contributors, the editor included. 18 are male and 8 female, while 22 are described as based in the US, one in Canada, two in the UK and one in Denmark. Most chapters appear to have been purpose-written for the volume. Two at least, however, originate in the 2019 Tulsa conference. The chapter by Greil Marcus is explicitly credited to his Tulsa keynote speech; that by Ann Powers, another keynoter, reads as if the publication of her text from the event; and there may be more. The role of the archive as a new determinant in Dylan studies is reflected in the fact that two of the contributors quote and formally credit material retrieved via their personal research activities there (…)

THE WORLD OF BOB DYLAN: MAIN CHAPTERS

Introduction – Sean Latham

A Chronology of Bob Dylan’s life – Kevin Dettmar and Sean Latham

The Biographies – Andrew Muir

Songwriting – Sean Latham

The Singles: A playlist for framing Dylan’s recording art – Keith Negus

Folk Music – Ronald D. Cohen

The Blues: ‘Kill Everybody Ever Done Me Wrong’ – Greil Marcus

Gospel Music – Gayle Wald

Country Music: Dylan, Cash and the projection of authenticity – Leigh H. Edwards

Rock Music – Ira Wells

Roots Music: Born in a basement – Kim Ruehl

The Great American Songbook – Larry Starr

American Literature – Florence Dore

World Literature – Anne-Marie Mai

The Beats – Steven Belletto

Theatre – Damian A. Carpenter

Visual Arts: Goya’s Kiss – Raphael Falco

Borrowing – Kevin Dettmar

Judaism: Saturnine Melancholy and Dylan’s Jewish Gnosis – Elliot R. Wolfson

Christianity: An exegesis of ‘Modern Times’ – Andrew McCarron

The Civil Rights Movement – Will Kaufman

The Counterculture – Michael J. Kramer

Gender and Sexuality: Bob Dylan’s Body – Ann Powers

Justice – Lisa O’Neill-Sanders

The Bob Dylan Brand – Devon Powers

The Nobel Prize: The Dramaturgy of Consecration – James F. English

Dylan: Stardom and Freedom – Donald R. Shumway

The Bob Dylan Archive – Mark A. Davidson