Francis Mus

Title De demonen van Leonard Cohen
Author Francis Mus
Country & Year Belgium 2015
Publisher Lannoo, Belgium
Pages 296
Notes ISBN 9789401422727
Text in Dutch.
Summary "‘Leonard Cohen, who are you?’ – that is the opening question of The Demons of Leonard Cohen, an essay on the work of Canada’s most famous songwriter, musician, poet, novelist and visual artist. Every artistic expression is connected to the life of its maker, be it really experienced or dreamed. Based on this insight, seven themes are lifted from Cohen’s work: public persona, artistic practice, alienation, desire and loss, religion, power, and encounter. These seven approaches offer an answer to the question who Leonard Cohen is and how he puts himself on the line in his work: the battle with the merciless gaze of the other, the artist in search of himself, his fundamental loneliness, the priest and believer within Cohen, impotence and the drive for power, etc. Time and again, Cohen tries to mend or come to terms with the brokenness he finds within himself and in the world around him. This is a tall order, and in doing so he involves everyone: himself, his audience, his loved ones, God. In these interactions something of who he is becomes visible. Cohen does not so much advance in his lifelong quest as dig deeper into his obsessions. The Demons of Leonard Cohen is neither yet another biography nor a sterile analysis but a thorough interpretation based on the artist’s musical, literary and graphic work, complemented by unpublished documents as well as interviews with musicians, collaborators and other privileged witnesses.

Francis Mus (1983) works as a research assistant at the Department of Literature of the University of Leuven, Belgium."


Francis Mus

Title The Demons of Leonard Cohen
Author Francis Mus
Country & Year Canada 2020
Publisher University of Ottawa Press, Canada
Pages 247
Notes ISBN 9780776631202
Edition in English
Summary "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."

"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".

This is a completely revised version, more than a simple English translation of the original, Dutch-language book “De Demonen van Leonard Cohen”.

Thanks to Francis Mus for the information and University of Ottawa Press for a copy of the book!