‘DYLAN, Bob’ [i.e Robert Allen ZIMMERMANN] and Barry FEINSTEIN (photographer). Hollywood Foto-Rhetoric: The Lost Manuscript. Text by Bob Dylan. Photographs by Barry Feinstein. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2008.

Quarto (254 x 233mm), pp. xvii, [1 (blank)], 141, [1 (colophon)]. Half-tone photographic illustrations in the text, some full- or double-page after Feinstein. Original black boards, spine lettered in silver, mid-grey endpapers, dustwrapper illustrated with photographs by Feinstein and Dylan, not price-clipped. (Spine-ends slightly bumped, dustwrappers slightly creased at edges.) A very good, bright copy.

First edition, first impression. The American photographer Feinstein (1931-2011) first met Bob Dylan in the early 1960s, and worked closely with him over the following decades, photographing tours and also providing cover images for the albums The Times They Are A-ChanginBefore The Flood, and Greatest Hits. ‘Sometime in 1964 Dylan wrote a suite of twenty-three poems inspired by Feinstein’s photographs of Hollywood, a spectacular collection taken over the course of the early 1960s. Although the photographs were made for a variety of assignments and in a number of different contexts, they have a remarkable consistency and a clearly identifiable theme: the passing of old Hollywood. The studio system and all that went with it, the industry that had created the movies as we knew them from the 1920s onward, had reached its terminus at last. It was a subject that clearly resonated with Dylan. He was a major part of the wave of change that was in the process of overthrowing the old guard, but then again, as he wrote in Chronicles about 1941, the year of his birth, “If you were born around this time or were living or alive, you could feel the old world go and the new one beginning. It was like putting the clock back to when B.C. became A.D. Everybody born around my time was a part of both”’ (pp. ix-x).

Dylan’s poems were finally published in this edition – more than forty years after they were written – and are illustrated with Feinstein’s portraits of Charlie Chaplin, Clark Gable, Judy Garland, Jayne Mansfield, Marlene Dietrich, Bette Davis, Steve McQueen, Marlon Brando, Edward G. Robinson, and others, with photographs of Frank Sinatra celebrating at John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Ball, Gary Cooper’s funeral, and Charlton Heston accepting the Oscar for Ben Hur. The text is prefaced by ‘A Conversation with Barry Feinstein’, ‘A Conversation with Bob Dylan’, a ‘Foreword’ by Luc Sante, and an ‘Introduction’ by Billy Collins.


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