Leonard Cohen: The Mystical Roots of Genius

Harry Freedman


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Publisher: Bloomsbury
Serial Number:9781472987273
Format: Hardback
Pages: 288 pages
Size: 162 x 242 mm
Date: 2021


‘Leonard Cohen taught us that even in the midst of darkness there is light, in the midst of hatred there is love, with our dying breath we can still sing Hallelujah.’ – The late Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks’Among the finest volumes on Cohen’s life and lyrics … An exploration which would have intrigued and engaged Leonard himself.’ – John McKenna, writer and friend of Leonard CohenHarry Freedman uncovers the spiritual traditions that lie behind Leonard Cohen’s profound and unmistakable lyrics. The singer and poet Leonard Cohen was deeply learned in Judaism and Christianity, the spiritual traditions that underpinned his self-identity and the way he made sense of the world.

In this book Harry Freedman, a leading author of cultural and religious history, explores the mystical and spiritual sources Cohen drew upon, discusses their original context and the stories and ideas behind them. Cohen’s music is studded with allusions to Jewish and Christian tradition, to stories and ideas drawn from the Bible, Talmud and Kabbalah. From his 1967 classic ‘Suzanne’, through masterpieces like ‘Hallelujah’ and ‘Who by Fire’, to his final challenge to the divinity, ‘You Want It Darker’ he drew on spirituality for inspiration and as a tool to create understanding, clarity and beauty.