In the spring of 1999 I read what remains without contest the best piece on Bob Dylan. It was a lengthy New Yorker profile, called The Wanderer, by Alex Ross. I wasn't hopeful. The inherent and by now thunderously obvious peril in approaching the cipher Dylan - especially when the writer is a fan - is getting the job done only to come out looking like a boob. Ross walked the highwire, acknowledging with an understated humour the pitfall on either side, and delivered an estimation of Dylan's talent that manages to be baroque and ecumenical, with none of the gassy pomposity those words (mine - sigh) suggest.
Alright, fine: so just how successful was he? I read the piece aloud to my wife, during a lengthy car-ride. At the end, she declared, "That makes me actually want to listen to his music!"
You can read the piece here. I came to it courtesy of this Slate discussion re: Dylan's hot-off-the-presses memoir.