Has there been many writers who have changed their styles many times and managed to do it well?
Bob Dylan is/was a better/more versatile songwriter
He stared in Traditional Folk and Protest Songs that spoke for The People then he moved into Modernist Poetry, Traditional Ballad and Surrealist Farce before juggling Country and Full Experimental and then who knows what the fuck he's been doing since the seventies probably a lot of other cool shit I don't have the time to listen to
Bowie was all about collaboration too.
I guess Toni Morrison went from mainstream litfic to quasi-faulkner. But again that's more evolution. Ian McEwan has multiple reinventions (comedy, spy thriller, romance, historical fiction) but not necessarily convincing ones. Haven't read M Amis, but he's of the same type.
For basically every other musician except Dylan, maybe. But go read the lyrics for Desolation Row or It's Alright Ma and tell me that's not fucking genius. I maintain that if Dylan had been a poet he would still be famous around the world.
I don't think his later styles were really that great, though. It was radical and probably brought on by his move to America and his conversion, but I think these two things diminished the quality of his poetry, as it did with Eliot. Auden and Eliot are two weird poets, that's for sure, neither American nor British in their style. Men without countries.
I read a bunch of the Rainbow Stories this year. Definitely all over the place stylistically, from journalistic to farcical.
Compare "Scintillant Orange" and "White Knights."
I'll probably never attempt his novels, not interested enough.