My Back Pages: Reviews and Essays by Steven MooreSteven Moore[’s] criticism is a model of clarity and intelligent advocacy.—Jonathan Franzen, New Yorker
Before he embarked on his massive history of the novel, Steven Moore was best known as a tireless promoter of innovative fiction, mostly by way of hundreds of book reviews published from the late 1970s onward. Virtually all have been gathered for this collection, which offers a panoramic view of modern fiction, ranging from well-known authors like Barth and Pynchon to lesser-known but deserving ones, many published by small presses. Moore also reviews dozens of critical studies of this fiction, and takes some side trips into rock music and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
The second half of the book reprints Moore’s best essays. Several deal with novelist William Gaddis — on whom Moore is considered the leading authority — and other writers associated with him (Chandler Brossard, Alan Ansen, David Markson, Sheri Martinelli), all of which have been updated for this collection. Others champion such writers as Alexander Theroux, Brigid Brophy, Edward Dahlberg, Carole Maso, W. M. Spackman, and Rikki Ducornet. Two essays deal with the late David Foster Wallace, whom Moore knew, and others treat such matters as book reviewing, postmodernism, the Beat movement, maximalism, gay literature, punctuation, nympholepsy, and the history of the novel.
Steven Moore (PhD Rutgers, 1988) is the author and editor of several books on William Gaddis, as well as of The Novel: An Alternative History (2010, 2013). From 1988 to 1996 he was managing editor of the Review of Contemporary Fiction/Dalkey Archive Press.
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Now that I am about to enter a new phase of my life, I look for a song to ease the passage into retirement. Rather morbidly I thought Tombstone Blues might be appropriate. One year later he would write Like a rolling stone. The hardest or least accessible song on this album is My back pages. Most Dylan songs make sense to me in a poetic way, even though they may be enigmatic and hard to follow, but this one is almost beyond grasp. The refrain is almost a gimmick, a brilliant thought: I was so much older then, I am younger than that now. He was much older then than the rest of his contemporaries.
I believe he is making a statement about wisdom. That true wisdom comes from an understanding of the things we know as fact and embracing them in the way a younger person would.
70 year old gag gifts
It is stylistically similar to his earlier folk protest songs and features Dylan's voice with an acoustic guitar accompaniment. Although Dylan wrote the song in , he did not perform it live until The Byrds' version, initially released on their album Younger Than Yesterday , was also issued as a single in and proved to be the band's last Top 40 hit in the U. In the song's lyrics, Dylan criticizes himself for having been certain that he knew everything and apologizes for his previous political preaching, noting that he has become his own enemy "in the instant that I preach. Music critic Robert Shelton has interpreted this refrain as "an internal dialogue between what he [Dylan] once accepted and now doubts. Dylan's disenchantment with the protest movement had previously surfaced in a speech he had given in December when accepting an award from the Emergency Civil Liberties Committee ECLC in New York.
The implication is that he started writing and let the song itself direct where matters were going. In this comment Dylan notes the two opposing routes between which all creative artists make a choice — plotting and planning the work in whatever form it is before one starts, or letting it happen. I would never in a lifetimes suggest that I am a creative artist of singular note, but I can give the briefest explanation of this from my own experience as a novelist. I knew more or less what happened that year, but during the nine months it took to write the book I discovered a lot more and those discoveries forced me to twist the actions of the characters quite a bit. And I gave the journalist and the fictional characters he met lives — during those nine months they became real people.