By Ira B. Nadel
From experiences of the hardcover edition:"[Various Positions is] extra a literary than a rock bio—quiet of tone, severe with no being worshipful. Drawing on Cohen's personal files, Nadel plots features of Cohen's life—Zen, amorous affairs, drug use—against the evolution of his writing. He models a biography that's revealing but in addition conscious of its topic at his best."—Booklist"An very good biography, one who manages to be either completely scholarly and surely exciting on the related time."—Montreal Gazette"An sincere and sympathetic biography."—New York occasions e-book Review"The such a lot authoritative paintings but at the 'poet laureate of pessimism.'"—Library JournalKnown because the "Prince of Bummers," Leonard Cohen is a multi-talented poet, singer-songwriter, novelist, and Zen Buddhist whose profession has spanned greater than 40 years and encouraged numerous different artists. during this significantly acclaimed biography initially released in 1996 by way of Pantheon Books, Ira Nadel attracts on large interviews with Cohen, in addition to excerpts from his unpublished letters, journals, notebooks, songs, and different writings, to supply a whole portrait of this enigmatic guy and his creative occupation. a brand new concluding bankruptcy brings Cohen's tale up to date, together with the discharge of the albums expensive Heather, Ten New Songs, the basic Leonard Cohen, and Blue Alert, in addition to the ebook of booklet of Longing and the screening of the documentary movie Leonard Cohen, i am Your guy.
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Additional info for Various Positions: A Life of Leonard Cohen
On the walls are a portrait of his father and photographs of Cohen and his sister Esther in their graduation robes from McGill. There is also one of Cohen praying in tallit (prayer shawl) and tefillin (symbolic representations of the commandments, actually leather straps attached to two small boxes containing portions of the Torah and worn at daily prayer) at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. Leather sets of Chaucer, Milton, Byron, Scott, Longfellow, Wordsworth, and Palgrave’s Golden Treasury sit on the bookshelves.
No theology was offered. In a sense it was atheistic, Cohen has said. Regular Shabbat attendance with the family at Shaar Hashomayim reinforced his Judaism, and he vividly remembers sitting in the third row of the synagogue with: my uncle Horace and my cousin David and then me, and then Uncle Lawrence and then the cousins and then Uncle Sidney and the other cousins. There was a whole string of Cohens standing up there in the front line and singing our hearts out. Still, it was a solemn occasion; one came to pray in a formal manner, with reverence but not feeling.
Jewish immigration became significant only near the end of the nineteenth century; the number of Jews in Montreal more than quadrupled from roughly 16,400 in 1901 to 74,564 in 1911. Most remained traders, commission agents, or manufacturers. Lazarus Cohen eschewed the traditional demographics and eventually settled in Westmount. The stone houses reflected those of Mayfair or Belgravia, incorporating Tudor, Gothic, and Rennaisance designs on the same block, occasionally in the same house. It was architecturally, geographically, and spiritually removed from francophone Montreal, from what would later be termed the French Fact.