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Thursday, February 24, 2005

Talkin' of 'Chronicles'/New York Times Review of Books

I quote from Volume 52, Number 4 · March 10, 2005 available at

'I Is Someone Else'
By Luc Sante

Michael Gray, who is probably Dylan's single most assiduous critic, turns up a quatrain by Robert Browning that the mind's ear has no trouble hearing in Dylan's voice, and not only because the end rhymes prefigure "Subterranean Homesick Blues":
Look, two and two go the priests, then the monks with cowls and sandals
And the penitents dressed in white shirts, a-holding the yellow candles
One, he carries a flag up straight, and another a cross with handles,
And the Duke's guard brings up the rear, for the better prevention of scandals.

Dylan himself, in the Songwriters interview, cites a Byron couplet that is equally convincing: "What is it you buy so dear/With your pain and with your fear?" But then, as he told Robert Hilburn of the Los Angeles Times,

It's like a ghost is writing [the] song.... It gives you the song and it goes away.... You don't know what it means. Except the ghost picked me to write the song.

Chronicles Volume One, by Bob Dylan, pub. Simon & Schuster, 2004

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