Leonard Cohen On Being Asked His View Of Himself: “It’s one of the things I’m least interested in”

Interviewer: I was wondering how your songs reflect your own view of yourself, as a songwriter and a musician.


It’s very hard for me to locate a view of myself. It’s one of the things I’m least interested in. I’m reminded of that story I read in Dalva, a novel by Jim Harrison, who is speaking of certain tribes where the white man tried to introduce the mirror, and certain native American tribes refused to accept the mirror. The reason was, they said, that your face is for others to look at.1



Leonard Cohen


The Leonard Cohen Reading List

Dalva is a 1988 novel by James “Jim” Harrison. It’s the tale of a woman’s search for the son she had given up for adoption and for the boy’s father, who is also her half-brother. Throughout the narrative, Dalva invokes the memory of her pioneer great-grandfather John Wesley Northridge, a survivor of Andersonville and a naturalist whose journals describe the demise of the Plains Indian way of life. This is the latest entry to the Leonard Cohen Reading List, a compilation of books commended by the Canadian singer-songwriter.

All entries in the Leonard Cohen Reading List can be found at

The Original Leonard Cohen Reading List

I am republishing selected posts from my former Leonard Cohen site, Cohencentric, here on AllanShowalter.com (these posts can be found at Leonard Cohen). This entry was originally posted Sept 13, 2016.


  1. From Stolen Moments: Leonard Cohen by Tom Schnabel. Acrobat Books, 1988. []

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