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Marcia Pally

Dec 21, 2021

From This Broken Hill I Sing to You

God, Sex, and Politics in the Work of Leonard Cohen

Bloomsbury Publishing 2021

Leonard Cohen's troubled relationship with God is here mapped onto his troubled relationships with sex and politics. Analysing Covenantal theology and its place in Cohen's work, Marcia Pally's From This Broken Hill I Sing to You: God, Sex, and Politics in the Work of Leonard Cohen (Bloomsbury, 2021) is the first to trace a consistent theology across sixty years of Cohen's writing, drawing on his Jewish heritage and its expression in his lyrics and poems.

Cohen's commitment to covenant, and his anger at this God who made us so prone to failing it, undergird the faith, frustration, and sardonic taunting of Cohen's work. Both his faith and ire are traced through: 

  • Cohen's unorthodox use of Jewish and Christian imagery 
  • His writings about women, politics, and the Holocaust 
  • His final theology, You Want It Darker, released three weeks before his death

Professor Marcia Pally teaches at New York University, at Fordham University, and is an annual guest professor at Humboldt University’s Theology Faculty

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