Recommendation: Spirituality And Desire In Leonard Cohen’s Songs And Poems By Peter Billingham

newbkSpirituality And Desire In Leonard Cohen’s Songs And Poems by Peter Billingham (Cambridge Scholars: Jan 1, 2017) comprises ten essays generated for a one day symposium at at the University of Winchester in 2014 (see listing at Chapter Titles & Contributors: Spirituality And Desire In Leonard Cohen’s Songs And Poems By Peter Billingham).

Given that the selections range from an unflinchingly Freudian analysis (Sex, Religion, Politics, and the Death Instinct: ‘Night Comes On’ by Leighton Grist), to “A Short Abstract Film about the Life and Work of Leonard Cohen” (David Burden), to a Hegelian perspective (Leonard Cohen and the Philosophical Voice of Learning by Rebekah Howes) to a piece by Cohencentric’s favorite rock chick, Sylvie Simmons, it is unsurprisingly that the style and quality of the chapters vary significantly.

Readers should be aware that most of these essays will require some heavy slogging (and Googling) for non-academics.  The effort is, however, rewarded. I especially recommend Julian Stannard’s accessible and enlightening look at Cohen’s early poetry, Billingham’s examination of the recurring Wounded Man figure in Cohen’s songs, and Sylvie Simmons’ insights into Cohen’s reluctance to facilitate overanalysis (i.e., any analysis whatsoever) of his work.