Love in Vain a Vision of Robert Johnson

Author(s): Greenberg Alan


Robert Johnson was undoubtedly the most outstanding of the Mississippi Delta blues musicians and also one of the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but his short life remains steeped in mystery and wrapped in some of the most enduring legends of modern music. "Love in Vain" is Alan Greenberg's remarkable, highly acclaimed, and genre-defying screenplay and is widely considered to be one of the foremost books on Robert Johnson's life and legacy and an extraordinary exercise in American mythmaking. Newly revised and complete with extensive historical notes on Johnson's life and the culture of the Mississippi Delta and blues music during the 1930s, "Love in Vain" is at once a classic of music writing and a screenplay whose reputation lies firmly in the realm of great American literature.


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"Reads like a great American novel . . . The definite book of any kind on the gifted, eccentric blues legend." --"Pitchfork""

"It's about time." --Bob Dylan"

"Finally someone has captured the central feel of this master musician and his times, and that man is Alan Greenberg. Take my word for it." --Keith Richards

"Magnificently rendered . . . This is no mere biopic. [Greenberg's]" "Johnson is a changeling, flesh-and-blood but mutable and secretive, and he dwells in a world of workaday magic, where his meeting with the devil takes place at the moviehouse in front of a western, and where Charlie Patton's funeral turns into a ferocious soul-claiming contest between Johnson and the Rev. Sin-Killer Griffin. Greenberg not only evokes Johnson in a way that actually enlarges our view of him, he also depicts the blues world of the time, from Mississippi to Texas, in all its variegated splendor and misery." --Luc Sante, "New York Review of Books"

"It may be the best movie you'll see all year--even if it's just inside your head." --"Entertainment Weekly"

""Love in Vain" has accomplished what I have tried to do for a long time: that is, to development screenplays as a new genre of literature which has its own natural right of existence." --Werner Herzog

"The resonances of Robert Johnson's mysterious life and equally mysterious death continue to echo through American music, from blues to country to rock to soul. Alan Greenberg has thoroughly researched and understood the facts of Robert Johnson's career, but more importantly he has boldly and brilliantly reimagined the myth. "Love in Vain" is surreal in the original sense of the word; it transforms the reality of Robert Johnson, his time, his place and his art, into a super-reality--sharp and vivid yet as luminous and elusive as a dream." --Robert Palmer, "New York Times""

""Love in Vain" is a blazingly readable screenplay that I recommend without reservation." --Greil Marcus

"A great, great scr

Alan Greenberg is a writer, film director, film producer, and photographer. He worked on Martin Scorsese's Cape Fear and Bernardo Bertolucci's "1900" and with Werner Herzog on his classic screenplays "Fitzcarraldo, Cobra Verde, "and" Heart of Glass." Greenberg's documentary "Land of Look Behind" was awarded the Chicago International Film Festival's Gold Hugo award, and he is the author of "Every Night the Trees Disappear: Werner Herzog and the Making of "Heart of Glass."
"Stanley Crouch is a columnist, novelist, and essayist and a founder of Jazz at Lincoln Center. He is the author of many books, including "Considering Genius: Writings on Jazz."
Martin Scorsese is an Academy Award-winning director, screenwriter, producer, actor, and film historian. He was executive producer for the acclaimed seven-part film series "The Blues."

General Fields

  • : 9780816680801
  • : University of Minnesota Press
  • : University of Minnesota Press
  • : January 2013
  • : 210mm X 140mm X 23mm
  • : United States
  • : February 2013
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Greenberg Alan
  • : P
  • : 1112
  • : 791.437
  • : 272
  • : 9 b/w illustrations