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

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.

Leonard Cohen Blames His Decreased Reading On LA Times & Identifies “The Last Book [He] Really Studied” 1992

The “very, very brilliant” woman he’s seeing who does the LA Times crossword every morning is Rebecca De Mornay.

Leonard Cohen Reading List

The book referenced by Leonard Cohen, I Am That is a compilation of talks on Shiva Advaita (Nondualism) philosophy by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, a Hindu spiritual teacher who lived in Mumbai. I Am That is the latest entry to the Leonard Cohen Reading List, a compilation of books commended by the Canadian singer-songwriter.

The quotation is from An Interview With Leonard Cohen by Rob O’Connor (Downtown, Feb 12, 1992). This article was contributed by Dominique BOILE. Photo of crossword by Brian Aydemir. Originally posted Aug 6, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen invokes William Faulkner’s invocation of John Keats: “We all have to talk about something”


How do you feel about the fact that your work has now become curriculum at literature courses all over the world?

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… At the beginning of my first book of poems [Let Us Compare Mythologies], I used a quotation from a short story by William Faulkner:

“All right” he said. “Listen and read again, but only one stanza this time and closed the book and laid it on the table. “She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss” McCaslin said: “Forever wilt thou love, and she be fair.” “He’s talking about a girl,” he said. “He had to talk about something,” McCaslin said.

That’s from The Bear by William Faulkner. We all have to talk about something.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

DrHGuy Note: A more extensive quote from the colloquy between Ike and McCaslin in The Bear by William Faulkner may be helpful:

McCaslin . . . returned with the book and sat down again and opened it. “Listen,” he said. He read the five stanzas aloud and closed the book on his finger and looked up. “All right,” he said. “Listen,” and read again, but only one stanza this time and closed the book and laid it on the table. “She cannot fade though thou hast not thy bliss,” McCaslin said: “Forever wilt thou love, and she be fair.”

“He’s talking about a girl,” he said.

“He had to talk about something,” McCaslin said.

Then he said, “He was talking about truth. Truth is one. It doesn’t change. It covers all things which touch the heart–honor and pity and pride and justice and courage and love. Do you see now?”

The lines McCaslin reads, “She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,/ For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!” are, of course, from Ode On A Grecian Urn by John Keats.

From Oct 16, 2001 Online Chat

Note: Originally posted Dec 30, 2011 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen Reading List: I Am That By Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

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I used to read a lot at one time, but now I tend to study rather than read, so there are a few particular books that I am reading at a particular time. I think the last book I really studied was a book called I Am That. I can’t pronounce the last name of the author. It’s been around 15 or 20 years. Generally, I find a book and it engrosses for me a number of months or even years.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Excerpted from An Interview With Leonard Cohen by Rob O’Connor (Downtown, Feb 12, 1992). This article was contributed by Dominique BOILE. Originally posted Aug 6, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen Reading List

The book referenced by Leonard Cohen, I Am That is a compilation of talks on Shiva Advaita (Nondualism) philosophy by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, a Hindu spiritual teacher who lived in Mumbai. I Am That is the latest entry to the Leonard Cohen Reading List, a compilation of books commended by the Canadian singer-songwriter.

“To escape from the burden of decision is a delightful notion but nothing more” Leonard Cohen

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Somehow things are given and they are given powerfully. You’re stuck with them. Your own nature is one of those things. You don’t wake up in the morning and choose the sort of guy you’re gonna be. Maybe you can in a really superficial way. Like in Rhinehart’s Dice Man. I loved that book very much, as a wonderful escapist idea. I think you’re kind of stuck with who you are and that’s what you’re dealing with. That’s the hand that you’ve been dealt. To escape from the burden of decision is a delightful notion…but nothing more.”quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Having Lunch With Leonard Cohen by Jon Wilde, Sabotage Times. Posted Dec 3, 2015 (the quote itself is taken from a 1988 interview).

Leonard Cohen Reading List

The book referenced by Leonard Cohen, The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart, is the latest entry to the Leonard Cohen Reading List, a compilation of books commended by the Canadian singer-songwriter.

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  • Title: The Dice Man
  • Author: George Cockcroft under the pen name Luke Rhinehart
  • Publisher: William Morrow; First Edition edition (January 1971)
  • ISBN-10: 0688014577
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688014575

Note: Originally posted Jan 29, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen Reading List: “Intercourse” By Andrea Dworkin

guido-Harari-milan

Interviewer: Andrea Dworkin said that many men try to reassert old positions of power through the sex-act.

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Well whether that’s true or not, the whole range of arguments in that book is quite radical and complex and beautiful. It’s the first book [Intercourse by Andrea Dworkin] I’ve read by an author, masculine or feminine, that has a defiance of the situation, which is deeply subversive in the holy sense – it’s other-worldly. She says that this world is stained by human misconception, that men and women have wrong ideas – even if they are ten million years old and come from the mouth of god, they are still wrong! The position in that book is so defiant and passionate that she creates another reality and just might be able to manifest it. It’s from that kind of appetite, with the way things are that new worlds arise, so I have deep admiration for Andrea Dworkin.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Excerpted from Read Leonard Cohen’s exclusive interview with Hot Press from 1988 by Joe Jackson (Hot Press: 11 Nov 2016)

Leonard Cohen Reading List

The book referenced by Leonard Cohen, Intercourse by Andrea Dworkin, is the latest entry to the Leonard Cohen Reading List, a compilation of books commended by the Canadian singer-songwriter.

interc

Author Andrea Dworkin
Country United States
Language English
Publisher Free Press
Publication date 1987
Media type Print (hardcover and paperback)
Pages 257
ISBN 0-684-83239-9
OCLC 37625851

For more Leonard Cohen comments on Intercourse by Andrea Dworkin, see Leonard Cohen Abed With Baggage – Milan 1989

Credit Due Department: Photo by Guido Harari.

Descent Into Chaos By Ahmed Rashid Is On Leonard Cohen’s Reading List

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In a comment to Book Recommendation By Leonard Cohen: Consciousness Speaks: Conversations with Ramesh S. Balsekar, Klaus Offermann writes:

I will read anything Leonard Cohen recommended because I believe he was a very wise man and he was a very well read man.

A number of years ago I decided to study in depth, how the West got itself into such a mess in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and the Middle-East. I read and followed many authors, including the books and writings of Ahmed Rashid.

At the time (Oct. 8, 2012), I was stunned to come across Ahmed’s facebook post, indicating that Leonard Cohen had read Ahmed’s “Descent Into Chaos”, a deeply critical analysis of US foreign policy in the region.

From then on, Leonard Cohen songs such as “Almost Like the Blues”, sang to me singed with a sad reality, knowing that Leonard was so well informed about the detail of issues, when his lyrics appeared to explore them in a more universal fashion.

Descent into Chaos: The U.S. and the Disaster in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia Paperback by Ahmed Rashid

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Revised edition (April 7, 2009)
  • Also available as e-book
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014311557X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143115571

Find similar posts at Leonard Cohen’s Reading List