When I think of the name “Leonard Cohen,” the first thing that honestly comes to my mind is the song “Hallelujah.” But this would be unfair to think that was all that Leonard Cohen has done with his life. While I, and others as well certainly, have always associated Cohen with his music, Cohen is more than just a musician. Cohen is actually an artist of multiple areas, including writing.
Beautiful Losers is without a doubt the most famous novel by Leonard Cohen. It was actually his second novel. Written as a zeitgeist for the 1960s, Beautiful Losers, captures the imagery and symbolism of its time, pulling us into 1960s Canada to look at how people were behaving at that time.
Cohen has admitted to taking drugs while he was writing this work in an effort to remain more focused and get the job done. The result was a completely unique narrative and use of imagery that is rarely matched in the book world, proving that Cohen is really capable of doing anything that he wants to do.
The themes that are commonly found in Cohen’s work include sex. The sex that Cohen describes in his work was not normally found in mainstream books when it came out, dealing with issues surrounding homosexuality, bisexuality, as well as sex scenes.
Cohen also remains consistent with making it hard for the reader to have someone to hang onto in the story. This means that the character that you feel is being oppressed becomes the oppressor before you even knew what happened. Likewise, the oppressor gets his own in some cases, becoming the oppressed and being forced to see what it I like to be sitting on the other side of things.
After Cohen’s period as a novelist, he discovered the great Bob Dylan. It was Dylan’s music that encouraged Cohen to become a musician himself, leaving behind his literary place in Canada’s art scene.
Even though he was successful in both his writing and his music, it wasn’t enough for Cohen. He was also an accomplished painter and poet, being the ultimate Renaissance Man. He has received the highest civilian honor among Canadians which is the Companion of the Order of Canada.
Cohen’s music career was compared to the success of Bob Dylan. Bruce Eder, a music critic, said “[he is] one of the most fascinating and enigmatic … singer/songwriters of the late ’60s … [and] has retained an audience across four decades of music-making…. Second only to Bob Dylan (and perhaps Paul Simon) [in terms of influence], he commands the attention of critics and younger musicians more firmly than any other musical figure from the 1960s who is still working at the outset of the 21st century.”
It is inarguable that Cohen made his place in the world of music. I would wager to say that he was even more successful singing than he was with his writings, and we know his writings were not a total bust.
Leonard Cohen is a unique individual that the world is going to be hard pressed to find a replacement for in the even that something happens to him. He is extremely diverse in his music and takes it very seriously. Maybe in the future he will decide to write out some short stories or novels, retaining his wonderful sense of humor, but presently he is content with what he is writing already. People like Leonard Cohen do not come around every day. His level of accomplishments are something that most kids could not even day dream about.