“[The I Ching] has been a sort of teacher for me.” Leonard Cohen

 

Interviewer: [Leonard Cohen] asked me if I had read The Book Of Changes [aka The I Ching], a Chinese work that took 1,000 years to write.

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It’s about the phases of arrangement, holding together, splitting apart and decay all the possible phenomena affecting a given moment of time. The book has been a sort of teacher for me.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Leonard Cohen Wants the Unconditional Leadership of the World by Susan Lumsden (Weekend Magazine: Sept 12, 1970)

 

The Leonard Cohen Reading List

This is the latest entry to the Leonard Cohen Reading List, a compilation of books commended by the Canadian singer-songwriter.

On Leonard Cohen’s Reading List: Cocksure By Mordecai Richler

The Leonard Cohen Reading List

This is the latest entry to the Leonard Cohen Reading List, a compilation of books commended by the Canadian singer-songwriter.

In his September 6, 1984 CBC interview with Vicki Gabereau, Leonard praises Cocksure by Mordecai Richler, calling it “a wonderful book” (although Leonard can’t recall the name of the book, it is clear from his description of a character who cannibalizes body parts to prolong his life that it is Cocksure).

The Penguin site offers this description of the book:

In the swinging culture of sixties’ London, Canadian Mortimer Griffin is a beleaguered editor adrift in a sea of hypocrisy and deceit. Alone in a world where nobody shares his values but everyone wants the same things, Mortimer must navigate the currents of these changing times. Richler’s eccentric cast of characters include the gorgeous Polly, who conducts her life as though it were a movie, complete with censor-type cuts at all the climactic moments; Rachel Coleman, slinky Black Panther of the boudoir; Star Maker, the narcissistic Hollywood tycoon who has discovered the secret of eternal life; and a precocious group of school children with a taste for the teachings of the Marquis de Sade. Cocksure is a savagely funny satire on television, movies, and the entertainment industry.This is Mordecai Richler at his most caustic and wicked best.

“I love the Bible and the Book of Isaiah has magnificent language and huge scope and huge optimism. I always loved Isaiah.” Leonard Cohen

From an ABC radio program broadcast from Sydney, Australia in March 1980. Photo by Trounce – Own work, CC BY 3.0, Wikipedia Commons

The Leonard Cohen Reading List

This is the latest entry to the Leonard Cohen Reading List, a compilation of books commended by the Canadian singer-songwriter.

Originally posted at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“I thought that Naked Lunch [by William Burroughs] was hilarious… When I find something that makes me laugh I think it’s good.” Leonard Cohen Reading List

Do you know anything about William Burroughs? Have you ever read any of his work?

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I’ve read a lot of his stuff. I thought that Naked Lunch was hilarious. It isn’t in my nature to examine consciously the wide implications of a piece of writing. I don’t look at these things in a sociological context, nor even in a literary context. You know, when I find something that makes me laugh I think it’s good.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

An Interview with Leonard Cohen by Michael Harris. Duel: Winter 1969.

The Leonard Cohen Reading List

This is the latest entry to the Leonard Cohen Reading List, a compilation of books commended by the Canadian singer-songwriter.

Leonard Cohen’s Reading List For Beautiful Losers: Kateri of the Mohawks, Longfellow’s Song of Hiawatha, Blue Beetle, Jesuits in North America, Farmer’s Almanac, & More

Cohen … based his novel [“Beautiful Losers”] on several core readings: P. Edouard Lecompte’s Une vierge iroquoise: Catherine Tekakwitha, le lis de bords de la Mohawk et du St. Laurent (1656-1680) (1927); Kateri of the Mohawks by Marie Cecilia Buehrle;1 a volume entitled Jesuits in North America; an American comic book from 1943, Blue Beetle; a farmer’s almanac; a passage from Nietzsche’s Twilight of the Idols; and Longfellow’s Song of Hiawatha.

Excerpted from Various Positions by Ira Nadel

The Leonard Cohen Reading List

This is the latest entry to the Leonard Cohen Reading List, a compilation of books commended by the Canadian singer-songwriter.

Originally posted October 23, 2012 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

___________________________

  1. Kateri of the Mohawks by Marie Cecilia Buehrle was published by Bruce Pub. Co  (1954) []

Joni Mitchell Accuses Leonard Cohen Of “Lifting Lines” From Camus; Leonard Cohen Responds

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But, unfortunately, in the Camus, I found he [Cohen] lifted lines. ‘Walk me to the corner, our steps will always …’  That’s literally a Camus line. So I thought that’s like Bob Dylan … When I realized that Bob and Leonard were lifting lines, I was very disappointed. And then I thought that there’s this kind of a self-righteous quality about — you’re a plagiarist and I’m not. So I plagiarized from Camus in ‘Come In from the Cold’ intentionally. I forget which verse it is, but when I put the single out, I edited that verse out. I just took it out. Leonard got mad at me actually, because I put a line of his, a line that he said, in one of my songs. To me, that’s not plagiarism. You either steal from life or you steal from books. Life is fair game, but books are not. That’s my personal opinion. Don’t steal from somebody else’s art, that’s cheating. Steal from life — it’s up for grabs, right? So I put something that he said in one of my songs and he got real irritable, [saying], ‘I’m glad I wrote that.’quotedown2

Joni Mitchell

From Joni Mitchell In Her Own Words by Malka Marom. ECW Press: September 9, 2014

Note: “Walk me to the corner, our steps will always rhyme” is from Leonard Cohen’s Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye. I haven’t been able to discover (nor can anyone else apparently) the Camus line to which Joni Mitchell refers.

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I found a lot of Lorca and Camus in his [Leonard Cohen’s] lines. And he was living the life of Camus, even down to the way he dressed, and his house in Hydra. It was disappointing to me, because as far as I could see, he was an original. I have this perverse need for originality. I don’t really care for copy, second-generation artists. I’m not a traditionalist. It’s the discoverers that excite me. Not ‘new’ like a new face, the way ‘new’ is used to sell something. They’re not new at all. They’re a new person doing the old shit. ‘Suzanne’ is a beautiful song, though.quotedown2


From Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell by David Yaffe. Sarah Crichton Books (October 17, 2017).

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I read somewhere that she [Joni Mitchell] felt I had tricked her in some way because I hadn’t told her that Camus had written a book called The Stranger and that I’d written a song called ‘The Stranger.’ The song had nothing to do with the book, nor was I the first person to call a song ‘The Stranger.’ She felt that I’d plagiarized She felt that I’d plagiarized Camus.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell by David Yaffe. Sarah Crichton Books (October 17, 2017).

Note: In Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell, Yaffe also observes that Joni Mitchell “(wrongly) believed that ‘Walk me to the corner / Our steps will always rhyme’ was ripped off from Camus.”

Also see

The Leonard Cohen Reading List

This is the latest entry to the Leonard Cohen Reading List, a compilation of books commended by the Canadian singer-songwriter.

Credit Due Department: Photo by Crossett Library

Leonard Cohen Read Robert Louis Stevenson & Alberto Moravia In 1975; Modern Writers? “No style. Just bad manners.”

Note: Two Women (original title in Italian: La Ciociara) is a 1958 Italian-language novel by Alberto Moravia. It tells the story of a woman trying to protect her teenaged daughter from the horrors of war. When both are raped, the daughter suffers a nervous breakdown. (Source: Wikipedia)

For Cohen, Grief Is Joy by Lynn Van Matre (Chicago Tribune: Nov 23, 1975). Thanks to Rike, who discovered and contributed the article

The Leonard Cohen Reading List

This is the latest entry to the Leonard Cohen Reading List, a compilation of books commended by the Canadian singer-songwriter.

Leonard Cohen Endorses Intentional Fallacy “You’ve got to discard the author’s intention. It doesn’t matter what the author’s intention in the piece is… It exists independently of his opinions about it.”

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When I was at school there was a book that was very popular called Seven Types of Ambiguity. One of the things it criticized was something called ‘The Author’s Intention.’ You’ve got to discard the author’s intention. It doesn’t matter what the author’s intention in the piece is, or what his interpretation of the piece is, or what his evaluation or estimation of the piece is. It exists independently of his opinions about it.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From a 1992 interview with Leonard Cohen published in Songwriters on Songwriting by Paul Zollo. Da Capo Press: 1997. Photo by Paul Zollo.

Seven Types of Ambiguity by William Empson (Chatto and Windus, London: 1930) is one of the foundations of the school of literary theory known as New Criticism.

The Leonard Cohen Reading List

This is the latest entry to the Leonard Cohen Reading List, a compilation of books commended by the Canadian singer-songwriter.