Leonard Cohen has aimed high: to be all Jewish heroes at once. Like Jacob, he struggled with angels. Like David, he sang psalms and seduced women. But he never ceased doing what he did best: going from city to city and reviving our hearts. Leonard Cohen: The Man Who Saw the Angels Fall follows the singer’s cosmopolitan life from Montreal and New York to the Greek island of Hydra and examines his perpetual dialogues with himself, God, and avalanches.
We see how six decades of radiant pessimism and a few thousand nights in hotel rooms transformed a young Jewish poet who longed to be a saint into an existentialist troubadour in love with women and a gravelly voiced crooner who taught a thousand ways of dissolving into love.
After more than two decades of research and travels, Christophe Lebold, who befriended the poet and spent time with him in Los Angeles, delivers a stimulating analysis of Cohen’s life and art. Gracefully blending biography and essay, he interrogates the mission Cohen set out for himself: to show us that darkness is just the flip side of light.
Available May 28, 2024. PRE-ORDER NOW!
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Christophe Lebold is associate professor at the University of Strasbourg (France), where he teaches literature, performance studies, and rock culture. A fan and friend of Leonard Cohen, he has traveled extensively in the poet’s tracks. Also a theater actor and student of Zen, he likes poets, cats, and — in a good mood — all sentient beings.
Published: May 2024
Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 in.
“I am deeply respectful of the mind that has produced this book.” — Leonard Cohen, private email
“It’s marvelous and highly recommended. Crammed with photos, footnotes, a blizzard of evidence, of fantastic research and opinion: this is ESSENTIAL.” — Jim Devlin, author of Leonard Cohen: In His Own Words and In Every Style of Passion: The Works of Leonard Cohen
“Combining scholarly biography, luminous exegesis, and metaphysics of the broken heart, this is the Summa Cohenia we needed. With Gilles Tordjman’s book, this is the best homage to the work of the Christ-loving Jewish poet.” — Bernard Loupias, Le nouvel observateur
“Cohen ceaselessly questions the world, as Christophe Lebold brilliantly demonstrates in Leonard Cohen: L’Homme qui voyait tomber les anges, a learned, vibrant, and inspired study devoted to the immortal creator of ‘Hallelujah.’” — Myriam Perfetti, Marianne
“With wide-angle shots of the Cohen constellation and clever close-ups on this loved woman or that inhabited place. This work is a treasure: the wind of rock has blown there and vibration rhymes with erudition.” — Vincent Dussol, Transatlantica
“Christophe Lebold devotes to the poet a marvelous volume, which opens with a triptych on gravity, wandering, and the broken heart.” — Daniel Bougnoux, La croix
“An extraordinary piece of work, at every level … It’s the biographical denouement that Leonard deserves… . Takes Cohenian biography to another level.” — Michael Posner, author of Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years
“The best book about Leonard Cohen.” — Jean-Luc Porquet, Le canard enchainé
“An erudite and amorous page-turner on the wandering Canadian that reaches beyond dates and facts.” — Emmanuel Dosda, Poly
“An impressive piece of work: Christophe Lebold has chosen a literary form for his homage and succeeds. The book rises to the level of its subject and that is not saying little.” — Eric Naulleau, literary critic
“Cohen under the surgeon’s scalpel: a book that retraces Leonard Cohen’s unique poetic odyssey and combines liveliness and passion with a scholarly twist. The inspired biographer crystallizes the different avatars of ‘the man who saw the angels fall’ and takes us along on the poet’s existential quest.” — Dernières nouvelles d’Alsace
“A great and very stylish book that makes you feel the poet’s soul.” — Pierre Charpilloz, Réservoir, le plein de culture