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August 23, 2008

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applying this kind of analysis to dylan's work doesn't hold much appeal for me. but what do i know? "i should have been a pair of ragged claws" etc.

Many who admire Dylan were disappointed in Ricks's book. As you noted--with characteristic insight--Ricks's linguistic universe is very distant from Dylan's. This is crucial because he ends up imposing a language that doesn't fit and that ends up imposing an entire critical apparatus on Dylan's work that, to me at least, doesn't completely work. It is, of course, always a pleasure to see Ricks's erudition and passion. Personally, I find his close readings of poets far more convincing.

A cautionary note: I do provide a quite different interpretation of Dylan's lyrics in the book I'm writing, and therefore it's possible my mind wasn't generous or flexible enough to accept Ricks's.

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