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Bob Dylan - How the Songs Work
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About the Author

Timothy Hampton is the Aldo Scaglione and Marie M. Burns Distinguished Professor of French and Comparative Literature and director of the Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author, most recently, of Fictions of Embassy: Literature and Diplomacy in Early Modern Europe.

Reviews

"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."---Greil Marcus, Rolling Stone
"Indispensable.... Setting some gold standard for what Dylan-based works can do, Bob Dylan's Poetics goes chord by chord and line by line, showing 'how the songs work' in form and are changed through performance."---Robert Sean Wilson, Los Angeles Review of Books
"The best account thus far of Dylan's poetics: how-by what concrete means-Dylan's songs come to signify, and how remarkably they do. Hampton makes the crucial distinction that Dylan's real medium is song, not just the written word and not just poetry." * Spectrum Culture *
"One of the more thought-provoking books on Dylan's songwriting. The casual fan and the Dylan obsessive will both be surprised by some of Hampton's insights.... A stimulating and wide-ranging study." * Stride Magazine *
"As much fun as I've had with a book this year. You needn't be a scholar to appreciate Hampton's clear-eyed analysis of how Bob Dylan does what he does and why it's different from what a lot of people think that he does. Hampton considers a large swath of Dylan's catalog, providing thrilling (yes, thrilling) readings on a number of songs, from 'Talkin' New York' (the first Dylan song officially released on vinyl) to his 2016 Frank Sinatra covers." * Arkansas Democrat-Gazette *
"A remarkable book, and more than worthwhile to those interested in song, lyricism, literature and creative invention." * Chicago Life *

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