Read Leonard Cohen and Philosophy Online

Authors: Jason Holt

Tags: #Philosophy, #Essays, #Music, #Individual Composer & Musician, #Poetry, #Canadian

Leonard Cohen and Philosophy

Praise for
Leonard Cohen and Philosophy


Leonard Cohen and Philosophy?
‘Everybody knows’ there’s a connection: not only through his Judaism cut with classico-medievalist Québécois Catholicism and then further cut with Zen Buddhism, but also via his tutoring in the “School of Hard Knocks” that is the pop-rock balladeer scene, from coffeehouse to sports arena, from album liner-notes to concert reviews. Editor Jason Holt, himself a fine absurdist experimental poet and a professor of philosophy, draws us into examining the kōan of Cohen, so to speak, by postulating the first immediate paradox of the artist: an essential, post-modern poet, respected by ye Literature professors, and a bluesy cantor/singer, whose smoky vocals coax matrons and teens alike to toss their panties on stage. Is Cohen really both pop star and poet, and, if so, might one add the label, ‘philosopher,’ too? Holt assembles twenty scholars to ponder the ideational links between Cohen as writer/songwriter and a cosmopolitan who’s who of philosophers: Adorno, Beauvoir, Camus, Derrida, etc. Reading these superb assessments of Cohen’s (sung) words bids us read and/or hear the bard ever more intensively, to recognize in him the extension of a troubadour tradition, ex the Holy Land and Provence, marrying Judeo-Christian and ‘Pagan’ deathless notions of love, sex, ritual, and romance, blending David and Dante, Peter and Petrarch, the Song of Songs and Sade.”

    
—G
EORGE
E
LLIOTT
C
LARKE
, William Lyon Mackenzie King Professor of Canadian Studies, Harvard University (2013-14) & Poet Laureate of Toronto (2012-15)


Cohen famously said that there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in. This book takes the brilliant light of Cohen’s words and shines it into Plato’s cave with such strength the prisoners are not only free but see the sun.”

    
—K
IMBERLY
B
ALTZER
-J
ARAY
, author of
Doorway to the World of Essences


Leonard Cohen and Philosophy
deals with a wide range of issues, including the metaphysical world created in ‘Suzanne,’ . . . the poetics of relationships , . . . and the phenomenology of time. . . . This volume presents perspectives not to be found elsewhere and offers readers a fuller resonance with Cohen’s work.”

    
—DrHGuy on Heck Of A Guy: The Other Leonard Cohen Site

“Anyone interested in Leonard Cohen—whether a newcomer to his work or a longtime fan—will find much to reflect upon and savor here. Exploring Cohen’s songs, albums, poems, and novels through the prism of philosophical and religious ideas, this volume covers diverse ground—from Hellenistic philosophy to existentialism, from Stoicism to phenomenology, from literary theory to gender studies, from Judeo-Christian concepts such as
katechon
to Buddhist concepts such as nirvana. In the process, certain themes receive special focus, such as romantic love, authenticity, irony, perceptions of time, embodied consciousness, the Holocaust and the banality of evil, and the process of redemption. As these essays make manifestly clear, Cohen’s work brings light to many philosophical and religious concepts, even as those concepts in turn help to illuminate and complement the depth of thought and feeling in Cohen’s rich and varied lyrical, poetical work.”

    
—K
ATHLEEN
L
EAGUE
, author of
Adorno, Radical Negativity, and Cultural Critique

“It is rare for a promising young literary figure to become an influential pop music star, but that is exactly what Leonard Cohen has accomplished. The various works of the Canadian singer-songwriter-poet-novelist frequently bridge such issues as personal identity, skepticism, inter-personal relationships, and inter-cultural spiritual influences. The chapters in this book run the gamut from classical and modern philosophical contexts to Cohen’s varied masculinities and prophetic tone to his unusual singing voice and concepts of beauty, authenticity, irony, love, evil, and transcendence.”

    
—D
URRELL
B
OWMAN
, author of
Experiencing Rush: A Listener’s Companion
and co-editor of
Rush and Philosophy: Heart and Mind United

“Leonard Cohen, a Canadian literary and music icon, has provoked excitement, disgust, bewilderment and uncertainty among his fans and critics alike.
Leonard Cohen and Philosophy
wonderfully captures and examines all of those sentiments and more. It provides a delightful and engrossing philosophical journey through the life and art of Leonard Cohen. Jason Holt and his roster of engaging contributors make you want to travel with them—and you’ll be glad you did.”

    
—S
HAUN
P. Y
OUNG
, editor of
Jeopardy and Philosophy

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