Prof. Gregory Betts in the English department at Brock University said. “It would be ridiculous to think that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame authenticates Leonard Cohen. If anything, it is hoping to gain some credibility by acknowledging him.” Yet, despite the fact that a Canadian literary icon will be included in the constant rotation of songs played at the Hall of Fame, will Cohen’s acceptance have any drastic effects on how Canadian literature is viewed? Professor Marilyn Rose in the English department at Brock has her doubts. “I’m not sure that Leonard Cohen’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will change much about the profile of Canadian literature abroad,” she said. “Cohen is being honoured for his songwriting. His public persona is as a pop icon at this point, more than anything else. And in that role he is associated as much with Los Angeles and New York as with Montreal, where he grew up.” Betts echoes these sentiments, but also believes that Cohen being recognized as a ‘song writer’ will simply distract from the fact that he does have such a vast catalogue of poetry and two cutting edge novels attributed to his name, which deserve just as much recognition, if not more, than his ‘popular singer/songwriter’ status.
From We May Be Ugly, But We Have The Music [Update: no longer online] by Katherine Gottli. Brock Press: March 18, 2008, a discussion of the impact of Leonard Cohen’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame vis-à-vis his influence on Canadian literature.
Note: Originally posted February 12, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric