On The Beauty of Women

Protagonist Lawrence Breavman, on the beauty of women:

Some women possess their beauty as they do a custom sportscar or a thoroughbred horse. They drive it hard to every appointment and grant interviews from the saddle. The lucky ones have small accidents and learn to walk in the street, because nobody wants to listen to an arrogant old lady. Some women wear moss over their beauty and occasionally something rips it away – a lover, a pregnancy, maybe a death – and an incredible smile shows through, deep happy eyes, perfect skin, but this is temporary and soon the moss reforms. Some women study and counterfeit beauty. Industries have been established to serve these women, and men are conditioned to favour them. Some women inherit beauty as a family feature, and learn to value it slowly, as the scion of a great family becomes proud of an unusual chin because so many distinguished men bore it. And some women, Breavman thought, women like Shell, create it as they go along, changing not so much their faces as the air around them. They break down old rules of light and cannot be interpreted or compared. They make every room original.

From The Favorite Game, by Leonard Cohen (published 1963).

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Published in: on July 30, 2010 at 3:22 pm  Leave a Comment  
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On the Beauty of Sherbrooke Street

Protagonist Lawrence Breavman, on the beauty of streets like Sherbrooke Street in Montreal:

But he knew the street was beautiful for other reasons. Because you’ve stores and people living in the same buildings. When you’ve got only stores, especially modern-fronted ones, there is a terrible stink of cold money-grabbing. When you’ve got only houses, or rather when the houses get too far from the stores, they exude some poisonous secret, like a plantation or an abattoir.

From The Favorite Game, by Leonard Cohen (published 1963).

Published in: on July 26, 2010 at 8:07 am  Leave a Comment  
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On the Enterprise of Art

Protagonist Lawrence Breavman achieves a manner of success with his first book:

His book of Montreal Sketches appeared and was well received. […] He read his sketches for small societies, large college groups, enlightened church meetings. He slept with as many pretty chairwomen as he could. He gave up conversation. He merely quoted himself. He could maintain an oppressive silence at a dinner-table to make the lovely daughter of the house believe he was brooding over her soul. […] The world was being hoaxed by a disciplined melancholy. All the sketches made a virtue of longing. All that was necessary to be loved widely was to publish one’s anxieties. The whole enterprise of art was a calculated display of suffering.

From The Favorite Game, by Leonard Cohen (published 1963).

Published in: on July 20, 2010 at 1:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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