By Chris Salewicz
Robert Johnson was once, based on Eric Clapton, "the most crucial blues singer that ever lived." An itinerant highway musician, with a weak point for whisky and girls, his is a lifetime of natural legend-the guy who offered his soul for the satan, and thereby invented glossy track. priceless little is understood approximately his 27 years, or the situations of his demise, or even the location of his grave is contested. during this mini-biography, acclaimed track critic Chris Salewicz investigates the reality at the back of the parable, evoking an incisive profile of an enigmatic determine who, with simply 29 songs, replaced renowned tune for ever.
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Once, before my birth, they detained my father three days for some unacknowledged deed; that single feat provided my family with its myth of heroic resistance for years. Once, too, during the war, when Rommel stood near El Alamein, I saw a red-nosed "Tommy," taunted beyond endurance by two Egyptian students, knock one of them down. That, and a few tanks rumbling on the way somewhere, was all I saw of British power in Egypt. Even their large barracks at Kasr El Nil, displaced now by the Nile Hilton, might have blended easily into Cairo's cluttered landscape except for the high-flying Union Jack.
Forging an appropriate role for the critic in such circumstances is the task to which Ihab Hassan dedicates himself. For him, the critic is far more than a conservator and maker of judgments. A critic's duties are as large as the subject he or she comprehends, and from the start Hassan's vision has been broadly extensive. " With the modern soul poised on the eve of Creation, he cautions that ''this is not a time for professors of literature to ignore the judgment of human passions," and in his own work proceeds to investigate not just the state of current literature but the Page viii deepest thoughts and feelings which inform it.
A smiling orderly with mustache waxed straight up, his brass-buckled belt creaking in one hand as with the other he leads a servant girl to the basement, from which her shrieks rise, rise . . my father ordering the driver suddenly to stop on a deserted road, getting out to stretch on his back full length in the dust, eyes riveted blankly to the sky . . This, too, is Egypt, memories quickened by aging desire, a slow land corruptly dreaming. <><><><><><><><><><><><> On Ideology Small nightmares bind us each to each.