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VINTAGE DIGITAL

A feud is brewing between two popular Bob Dylan biographers

And some harsh words are being exchanged

British (digital) music magazine New Musical Express (NME) reports on an ongoing feud between two Bob Dylan biographers. And it has come down to insults.

In an introduction to his recently released Dylan biography titled A Restless Hungry Feeling: The Double Life of Bob Dylan Vol. 1: 1941-1966, author Clinton Heylin commented on another Dylan biography, Down The Highway: The Life Of Bob Dylan, (2001) and its author Howard Sounes. In his introduction, Heylin calls Sounes a “professional dirt digger” who had written a “semi-literate” book.

Heylin’s new book, which was released earlier in April 2021, sees him describe Sounes’ work as a “depressingly well-trundled, semi-literate stroll”.

As could be expected, Sounes was offended and has reacted through British daily The Guardian, saying that Heylin is “a clunky, self-indulgent writer” whose new Dylan biography is “incredibly boring”.

Sounes said: “It’s not really polite to tell other writers they’re bad writers, because they tend to fling it back to you. In response, I would say he’s a clunky, self-indulgent writer… His books are all very long and baggy. They’re about his interpretation of Dylan songs … and it’s incredibly boring.”

“He seems to be very upset that, in 2001, I got a lot of publicity because I revealed that Dylan had a secret second marriage, to a woman called Carolyn Dennis, which made headlines all over the world and helped make the book a bestseller.”

An updated edition of Sounes’ book is being released this month by Doubleday ahead of Dylan’s 80th birthday in May. For his part, Heylin did not have additional comments on Sounes or his book. Yet.

CULTURE (counter, pop, and otherwise) and the people who shape it.

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