The Demons of Leonard Cohen

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Wybe
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The Demons of Leonard Cohen

Post by Wybe » Wed Aug 19, 2020 2:32 pm

A new book from Francis Mus in English. It is a completely revised version, more than a simple English translation of the original, Dutch-language book “De Demonen van Leonard Cohen”
Some of the Cohenites who attended the Amsterdam LC Event in 2016 know Francis Mus who gave a very interesting book presentation, accompanied with music by Sophia Ammann.
After the presentation we had many questions if the book was available in English, now it is and will be available on August 25 2020 in many (on-line)bookshops.
ISBN: 9780776631202
ISBN: 9780776631202
Book Francis Mus.JPG (24.78 KiB) Viewed 1032 times
on https://press.uottawa.ca/demons-of-leonard-cohen.html
The countless roles assumed by Cohen’s personas are not some innocent game, but strategies in response to the sometimes conflicting demands of a “life in art”: they serve as masks that represent the performer’s face and state of mind in a heightened yet detached way. In and around the artistic work they are embodied by different guises and demons: image (the poser), artistry (the writer and singer), alienation (the stranger and the confidant), religion (the worshipper, prophet, and priest), and power (the powerful and powerless). Ultimately, Cohen’s artistic practice can be read as an attempt at forging interpersonal contact. 
The wide international circulation of Cohen’s work has resulted in a partial severing with the context of its creation. Much of it has filtered through the public image forged by the artist and his critics in concerts, interviews, and reflective texts. Less a biography than a reception study—supplemented with extensive archival research, unpublished documents, and interviews with colleagues and privileged witnesses—it sheds new light on the dynamic of a comprehensive body of work spanning a period of sixty years.
on https://www.flandersliterature.be/books ... ard-cohen
A unique view into the singer's soul
The Demons of Leonard Cohen
Francis Mus
Who is Leonard Cohen? Connoisseur Francis Mus visited all available archives, interviewed people from the entourage around Cohen, knocked on the door of the singer himself and analyzed his song texts in his quest to find the man behind the most well-known singer-songwriter in the world.

Francis Mus displays an expertise not seen before by Cohen’s Canadian critics.

Brian Trehearne:
Leonard Cohen recently passed away, but the Canadian singer is more popular than ever: his concerts in Belgium and The Netherlands are sold out in no time and his recent record 'Popular Problems' entered out of nothing on the first place in the charts. Nevertheless Cohen remains an artist wrapped in mystery. A spitting image of a gentleman with an unshakeable charisma, yet having at the same time something unfathomable and intangible. But is this image correct?
Authority on Cohen Francis Mus portrays the real Cohen and his recurring demons. He searched for and found ‘Cohen pieces’ that never have been written about. This book offers a unique view into Leonard Cohen’s soul.
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yopietro
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Re: The Demons of Leonard Cohen

Post by yopietro » Wed Aug 19, 2020 6:21 pm

What a terrible title for a book.
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Re: The Demons of Leonard Cohen

Post by DennisBerlin » Thu Aug 20, 2020 2:10 pm

Actually,I'm a bit more troubled about the price: almost € 40,00 (some 39, something).
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Maarten
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Re: The Demons of Leonard Cohen

Post by Maarten » Thu Aug 20, 2020 5:58 pm

yopietro wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 6:21 pm
What a terrible title for a book.
Yopietro

Indeed, at first glance, the title of this book seems a bit odd but if you would take the effort of reading it when it becomes widely available you will probably agree with me that the title is actually pretty well chosen. The "demon" refers to the Latin word Daemon which derives from the Ancient Greek Daimon.

Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daemon_(c ... mythology)
But I'm sure Francis is better at explaining this than I am... :-)

I very much enjoyed reading the (first) Dutch version of the book and I've just started reading the English (updated) version (advance copy).

Hope you enjoy the book!
Maarten

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Re: The Demons of Leonard Cohen

Post by yopietro » Thu Aug 20, 2020 7:13 pm

Maarten wrote:
Thu Aug 20, 2020 5:58 pm
yopietro wrote:
Wed Aug 19, 2020 6:21 pm
What a terrible title for a book.
Yopietro

Indeed, at first glance, the title of this book seems a bit odd but if you would take the effort of reading it when it becomes widely available you will probably agree with me that the title is actually pretty well chosen. The "demon" refers to the Latin word Daemon which derives from the Ancient Greek Daimon.

Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daemon_(c ... mythology)
But I'm sure Francis is better at explaining this than I am... :-)

I very much enjoyed reading the (first) Dutch version of the book and I've just started reading the English (updated) version (advance copy).

Hope you enjoy the book!
Maarten
Thanks for the heads up Maarten. I actually do know of the distinction of "daemon" with an "a." And if the title had been "The Daemons of Leonard Cohen," that would have been much more interesting and appealing in my opinion. The way it is right now, it implies to someone who sees the cover at the bookstore that the book is a salacious dive into the elements of Leonard's psyche that tortured him and drove him to self-loathing, despair, drug abuse, infidelity, etc, etc...
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Re: The Demons of Leonard Cohen

Post by Maarten » Sun Aug 23, 2020 2:41 pm

Hi again Yopietro

Like I said above, Francis' explanation of the title is better than my humble attempt. Here's a quote from the introduction of his book (p.20-21):
In this book, I refer to these masks as "demons", in the original Greek mythological meaning of the term, in which the daimon is not necessarily a negative figure (unlike its representation in popular culture today). The daimon nestles on somebody's shoulder, incarnating that person's identity while remaining invisible to the individual it has taken possession of. It is only in the outside world, through contact with other people, that the daimon's presence manifests itself. Without using the actual term, Cohen formulates this idea in an interview from 1972, chronicled in the documentary Bird on a Wire:

I think that everybody understands the songs. We don't understand perfectly what we say to each other in words, but we always understand each other. And it's the same way with my songs. The texts are sometimes difficult, but even when you sit with somebody and you listen to them speak about their lives, you can't follow the meaning from word to word or from sentence to sentence. But something else comes through, something of the person himself or herself comes through. And so it is with my work, although the meaning of each line may be obscure. (my italics)
And later on in the introduction about Leonard Cohen's dialogical self:
His identity keeps assuming new forms, depending on the other to whom the "self" turns time and time again - hence the plural demons in the title of my book. As such, the use of the term "daimon" is meant to highlight the intriguing dynamic of the artist, work, and audience, and not to defend a psychological-biographical reading of his work.
I hope Francis doesn't mind me quoting those lines from his book.

All the best
Maarten

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Re: The Demons of Leonard Cohen

Post by yopietro » Sun Aug 23, 2020 6:10 pm

Fair enough, Maarten. And I understand the distinction the author is making. But Francis could have easily entitled the book "The Daimons of Leonard Cohen" and it would have conveyed that distinction a lot better. I could see no other reason to use the spelling "Demon," which is more generally associated with the "demonic" and all of the other negative connotations, except that the author wanted to make the title spicy and to attract eyeballs to the book. To make the title "sexier," inviting people to look inside to learn about Leonard's demons. That's why the title seems cheap and tawdry to me.
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Re: The Demons of Leonard Cohen

Post by Andrew (Darby) » Sat Aug 29, 2020 4:55 pm

In addition to Maarten’s and yopietro’s foregoing comments, the following quote is from my friend Clive, whom I shared this discussion with, being a classicist and linguist during his academic life.
Hi Andrew, I think that title is perfect, however it may be spelt.

Of course, as a classicist, I prefer the “dAEmon” version!
IMHO Leonard as a literary man & a cultivated philhellene scholar might well have preferred that version. Or maybe not!

Anyway ‘daemon' is actually only a Latinised version of the Ancient Greek word δαίμων ‘daimon’ - a fascinatingly multilayered word, orig. neither negative nor positive in connotation, when out of context, translatable variously as “god; goddess; Deity or Divine power; genial spirit, one’s ‘genius’ or fortune which comes into being at one’s birth, almost, but not quite, like the later Christian 'guardian angel'; also often used in Hesiod & Homer to denote ‘the souls of men of the Golden Age’ forming the link between gods & men; then later used for ‘departed souls’ Latin ‘manes')

As you know, the Romans borrowed such a lot from the Greeks, particularly in the realms of philosophy & spirituality.

It was the early Christians who tilted the modern sense decisively towards the pejorative end of the semantic ‘playing field’ (so to speak) —> “demon; evil spirit”, given their wholesale & narrow-minded rejection of what they took to be accoutrements of evil paganism & idolatry.

For what it’s worth, I suspect the average reader would be oblivious of those classical associations, and be tantalised by the scandalous Christian associations. So I think either the author or his publisher are probably going for a bit of provocative salaciousness, don’t you?

Sounds interesting - will have to read that book!
Cheers,
Andrew :)
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Re: The Demons of Leonard Cohen

Post by LisaLCFan » Sat Aug 29, 2020 5:01 pm

Andrew (Darby) wrote:
Sat Aug 29, 2020 4:55 pm
In addition to Maarten’s foregoing comments, the following quote is from my friend Clive, whom I shared this discussion with, being a classicist and linguist during his academic life.
...For what it’s worth, I suspect the average reader would be oblivious of those classical associations, and be tantalised by the scandalous Christian associations. So I think either the author or his publisher are probably going for a bit of provocative salaciousness, don’t you?

My thoughts exactly -- I'm with Yopietro on this one.
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Re: The Demons of Leonard Cohen

Post by Maarten » Sun Oct 18, 2020 2:26 pm

Hi friends

Here's a nice video of Francis Mus discussing his book with Chantal Ringuet on the YouTube channel of "Association for Canadian Jewish Studies Presents"
Meet the Author: Episode 6 - Francis Mus
https://youtu.be/tBfRlbLHb_k

Half an hour on a lazy Sunday at home well spent, I'd say!

Description:
Francis Mus (University of Antwerp) discusses his recent book (The Demons of Leonard Cohen) with Chantal Ringuet (Hadassah-Brandeis Institute) and Jesse Toufexis (University of Ottawa).

Association for Canadian Jewish Studies Presents
Series: Meet the Author
Episode 6
Interviewee: Francis Mus
Interviewers: Chantal Ringuet and Jesse Toufexis
Music: www.bensound.com
Technical Producer: Theadora Draper

Association for Canadian Jewish Studies Presents is co-organized by Richard Menkis and Jesse Toufexis on behalf of the ACJS

copyright: Association for Canadian Jewish Studies, 2020

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