GREIL MARCUS presents his new book BOB DYLAN: WRITINGS 1968-2010 at Spoonbill & Sugartown, Booksellers on Election Night, Tuesday November 2 at 8 PM. The bookshop is located at 218 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn NY. Telephone 718-387-7322. Admission is free but seating is very limited.


Public Affairs; 29.95; 512 pages;

This book begins with a rumor in Berkeley in the mid-1960s and ends on Election Night in Minneapolis in 2008. In one moment a small crowd holds its breath as a person pretending to be Bob Dylan performs from inside a wooden box; in another, Dylan appears for the first time at his erstwhile alma mater, the University of Minnesota, and on a night when the country voted for change, invests songs he has carried with him for nearly half a century with new meaning.

Between these two events, Greil Marcus, known throughout the world for his books Mystery Train, Lipstick Traces, and The Old, Weird America, has followed Bob Dylan’s work with a fan’s intensity and a detective’s persistence. Here, that ranges from a Rolling Stone piece on Dylan’s 1970 Self Portrait, often called the most notorious record review ever written (“To quote another critic, writing in another time and another place, but about a similar artistic disaster,” says a character in Nick Hornby’s 2009 novel Juliet, Naked, “‘What is this shit?’”) to a recognition of the depths of Time Out of Mind nearly thirty years later (“As bleak and blasted as any work a major artist in any field—an artist with something, an audience, a reputation, to lose—has offered in ages”).  There are long investigations into the tangled stories told by old American music, and pithy twenty-five or fifty-word comments on records, books, concerts, radio commercials, and nearly anything else under the sun. Publishing in time for the release of Dylan’s “The Mono Records” (for which Marcus wrote the liner notes), the result is a sparkling and enduring chronicle of a more than forty-year engagement between an unparalleled singer and a uniquely acute listener.

Greil Marcus is the author of When That Rough God Goes Riding, Like a Rolling Stone, The Old, Weird America, The Shape of Things to Come, Mystery Train, Dead Elvis, In the Fascist Bathroom, and other books. A twentieth anniversary edition of his Lipstick Traces was published in 2009. With Werner Sollors, he is the editor of A New Literary History of America, published in 2009 by Harvard University Press. Since 2000, he has taught at Princeton, Berkeley, Minnesota, and the New School in New York; his column “Real Life Rock Top 10” appears regularly in The Believer. He lives in Berkeley.


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