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Book review and technical detail DYLAN’S VISIONS OF SIN ~ Christopher Ricks

Technical detail of DYLAN’S VISIONS OF SIN ~
author Christopher Ricks
ISBN 92727
Category Entertainment & Sports
Publisher Ecco
Pages 528
Publishing Date 1st January, 1970

Book Reviews:

A able balladry analyzer takes on the lyrics of bedrock artist Bob Dylan.Ricks (Humanities/Boston Univ.) has bound tomes on Milton, Keats, Eliot, and Tennyson, but he has continued been absorbed by Bob Dylan: His 1984 article “Cliches and American English” was a much-lauded textual account of the singer-songwriter’s work. In this aggressive and intellectually freewheeling work, Ricks takes a feature attending at the anapestic and moral underpinnings of Dylan’s songs. Selecting tunes both acclaimed (“Positively Fourth Street,” “Lay Lady Lay”) and abstruse (“Clothes Line Saga,” “Handy Dandy”), Ricks analyzes them lyrically and structurally in agreement of their relationships to the Seven Deadly Sins, the four virtues, and the three adorable graces. This access is sometimes strained, and some of the songs don’t sustain the author’s abreast scrutiny. Ricks nonetheless proves to be a active and abstruse adviser through the sometimes-daunting thickets of Dylan’s compositions. He is abnormally adroit at acrimonious afar the musician’s beat schemes and turns of rhythm, and he is an abnormally active and (surprisingly, for an English balladry scholar) antic adviser through the mechanics of the work. A affiliate doesn’t canyon after some able and agreeable allusion to added pertinent numbers in the Dylan canon. But the columnist is beneath accomplished at discussing the acceptation and moral weight of the songwriter’s oeuvre. Unlike best Dylan pundits, he absolutely eschews a biographical account of the texts; while that ability accessible the aperture for a beginning consideration, Ricks’s interpretations generally assume too advancing and airless. The reader—especially one with a nonacademic bent—may ultimately admiration for whom this was written. Its length, bookish density, and abounding citations of poets both age-old and abreast will apparently put off all but the best adherent Dylan enthusiasts, while balladry buffs will acceptable ask themselves if a musician, alike one of Dylan’s caliber, is aces of article as beefy as this.A breach and occasionally alive airing through a master’s work, but one that will accept a difficult time award an audience.

Bob Dylan's ways with words are a wonder, matched as they are with his music and verified by those voices of his. In response to the whole range of Dylan early and late (his songs of social conscience, of earthly love, of divine love, and of contemplation), this critical appreciation listens to Dylan's attentive genius, alive in the very words and their rewards. "Fools they made a mock of sin." Dylan's is an art in which sins are laid bare (and resisted), virtues are valued (and manifested), and the graces brought home. The seven deadly sins, the four cardinal virtues (harder to remember?), and the three heavenly graces: these make up everybody's world -- but Dylan's in particular. Or rather, his worlds, since human dealings of every kind are his for the artistic seizing. Pride is anatomized in "Like a Rolling Stone," Envy in "Positively 4th Street," Anger in "Only a Pawn in Their Game" ... But, hearteningly, Justice reclaims "Hattie Carroll," Fortitude "Blowin' in the Wind," Faith "Precious Angel," Hope "Forever Young," and Charity "Watered-Down Love." In The New Yorker, Alex Ross wrote that "Ricks's writing on Dylan is the best there is. Unlike most rock critics -- 'forty-year-olds talking to ten-year-olds,' Dylan has called them -- he writes for adults." In the Times (London), Bryan Appleyard maintained that "Ricks, one of the most distinguished literary critics of our time, is almost the only writer to have applied serious literary intelligence to Dylan ... " Dylan's countless listeners (and even the artist himself, who knows?) may agree with W.H. Auden that Ricks "is exactly the kind of critic every poet dreams of finding."

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