“You’ve got to discard the author’s intention. It doesn’t matter what the author’s intention in the piece is… It exists independently of his opinions about it.” Leonard Cohen & The Intentional Fallacy

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When I was at school there was a book that was very popular called Seven Types of Ambiguity. One of the things it criticized was something called ‘The Author’s Intention.’ You’ve got to discard the author’s intention. It doesn’t matter what the author’s intention in the piece is, or what his interpretation of the piece is, or what his evaluation or estimation of the piece is. It exists independently of his opinions about it.

 

Leonard Cohen

 

From a 1992 interview with Leonard Cohen published in Songwriters on Songwriting by Paul Zollo. Da Capo Press: 1997. Photo by Paul Zollo.

Seven Types of Ambiguity by William Empson (Chatto and Windus, London: 1930) is one of the foundations of the school of literary theory known as New Criticism.

The Leonard Cohen Reading List

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 July 9, 2017.

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