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Bob Dylan Slates First Book in 18 Years, ‘Philosophy of Modern Song’

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Anyone wanting Bob Dylan to release “Chronicles Volume Two” or any official sequel to his previous memoir, “Chronicles Volume One,” which came out in 2004, is going to have to wait longer. But other than that, the news on the Dylan publishing front is astonishingly good. He does have his first book in 18 years coming out this fall, and it could be even more appealing to fans than a second diaristic effort.

“The Philosophy of Modern Song,” a collection of more than 60 essays devoted to examining other songwriters’ material, will be published Nov. 8, 2022, Simon & Schuster announced Tuesday. The publisher said the book has been 12 years in the making, with Dylan having started it back in 2010.

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Bob Dylan book cover
Courtesy Simon & Schuster

Artists whose work is covered in those 60 essays encompass the likes of Stephen Foster, Elvis Costello, Nina Simone and Hank Williams, according to the release — and assuming the book jacket is any indication, Little Richard will likely factor in, too. (He’s pictured alongside the Australian rockabilly singer Alis Lesley and Eddie Cochran.)

The announcement says the book will constitute “a master class on the art and craft of songwriting,” as Dylan “analyzes what he calls the trap of easy rhymes, breaks down how the addition of a single syllable can diminish a song, and even explains how bluegrass relates to heavy metal.” The announcement further declares that while the essays “are ostensibly about music, they are really meditations and reflections on the human condition.”

An audiobook will be available, with Dylan reading some portions and “a mix of other voices” doing the narration on others.

“The publication of Bob Dylan’s kaleidoscopically brilliant work will be an international celebration of songs by one of the greatest artists of our time,” said Jonathan Karp, president and CEO of Simon & Schuster. “’The Philosophy of Modern Song’ could only have been written by Bob Dylan. His voice is unique, and his work conveys his deep appreciation and understanding of songs, the people who bring those songs to life, and what songs mean to all of us.”

The company said Karp and executive editor Sean Manning picked up world English rights, audio rights and first serial rights from Andrew Wylie at the Wylie Agency. The latter firm is handling translation rights.

 

 

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