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Greil Marcus at the World of Bob Dylan Conference

Announcing: Greil Marcus

Over the coming weeks, the University of Tulsa Institute for Bob Dylan Studies will announce the keynote events at this spring’s World of Bob Dylan event in Tulsa.

We are excited to announce that we’ll be joined on the evening of Thursday May 30 by one of the world’s great rock critics and music writers, Greil Marcus.  A special reception for all registered participants will follow.

Marcus has written extensively about Bob Dylan and operates his own website where he collects fragments of his own writing in an ever-expanding cyber universe. His widely regarded books about Dylan include Like a Rolling Stone: Bob Dylan at the Crossroads and Old Weird America: The World of Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes.  Recently, his extensive writings about the Nobel-winning songwriter have been gathered in a single edited volume that carries us on a wild ride through modern American music.

Marcus is among the best of music critics, in the class of those that elevate music criticism to its own art form through erudition and immediate prose. To get a sense of the range, creativity, and scope of his imagination, take a moment to look at this series of observations about Self-Portrait in The Rolling Stone circa 1970. Bear in mind that Marcus later wrote the liner notes for 2013’s bootleg release “Another Self-Portrait” in which he substantially revises his critique.

Or you could instead check out Marcus’ own column, “Greil Marcus’ Real Life Rock Top 10.” Here he weighs in on ten disparate pop culture happenings in his own way, ranging from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s dance moves to “The Secret of Jack White’s Success.” 

Want to learn more about the World of Bob Dylan?  If so, register for The World of Bob Dylan Conference and join us for an event featuring panel discussions, roundtables, performances, and more from May 30th-June 1st here in Tulsa.  And sign up for our newsletter to receive periodic updates, background reading, and custom-made playlists.

A Short “Dylanography” and Playlist

In order to help gear up for what promises to be a terrific opening keynote, the Institute has prepared a short list of Marcus’s most influential writings as well as a custom Spotify playlist that highlight’s Dylan’s life-long passion for the fundamentally American sound of the blues.

  • A specially curated Spotify playlist featuring some of Dylan’s blues masterpieces.
  • Bob Dylan by Greil Marcus: Writings 1968–2010 (Public Affairs, 2011)
  • The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Ten Songs (Yale University Press, 2014)
  • Invisible Republic: Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes (Henry Holt & Co., 1997), republished as The Old, Weird America: The World of Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes (Picador, 2000, revised edition 2010)
  • Like a Rolling Stone: Bob Dylan at the Crossroads (Public Affairs, 2005)
  • Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock ‘n’ Roll Music (E.P. Dutton & Co, 1975, revised edition Plume, 2015)