The importance of tradition: sensual and spiritual aspects of love according to the medieval andalusian muslim poets and the occitan troubadours in contrast with the contemporary singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen

Jiří Měsíc


The following essay focuses on the Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen who is
believed to be one of the main representatives of the tradition of European love poetry as
understood by the Anglo-American modernists of the 20th century Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot.
Primarily, it focuses on the Sacred Feminine character as the main subject of the Occitan and
Andalusian Medieval poetry and its reappearance in the song of Leonard Cohen. The paper also
deals with literary contrasts and views tradition as an always-evolving phenomenon.


Cohen; troubadours; poetry; song; tradition

Texto Completo:



Arberry, A. J. (2010), trans. Moorish Poetry: A Translation of the Pennants: An Anthology Compiled in 1243 by the Andalusian Ibn Sa‘id. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.

Burger, Jeff (2014) Leonard Cohen on Leonard Cohen: Interviews and Encounters. Chicago: Chicago Review Press.

Chaytor, H. J. (1912) The Troubadours. London: Cambridge UP.

Cholakian, Rouben Charles (1990) The Troubadour Lyric: A Psychocritical Reading. Manchester: Manchester UP.

Cohen, Leonard (2010) Death of a Lady’s Man. New ed. London: Andre Deutsch.

_____________ (2007) Let Us Compare Mythologies. New ed. New York: Ecco.

_____________ (1968) Selected Poems: 1956-1968. New York: Viking.

_____________ (1994) Stranger Music: Selected Poems and Songs. New York: Vintage.

Eliot, T. S. (1920) “Tradition and the Individual Talent.” The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism. London: Methuen & Co. Ltd. (42-53).

Frye, Northrop (2000) Anatomy of Criticism: Four Essays. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP.

Frye, Northrop (1971) “Leonard Cohen, Let Us Compare Mythologies (1956) Review.” The Bush Garden; Essays on the Canadian Imagination. Toronto: House of Anansi. (250)

Kehew, Robert, Ezra Pound, and W. D. Snodgrass. (2005) Lark in the Morning: The Verses of the Troubadours. Chicago: University of Chicago.

Luʼluʼa, ʻAbd Al-Wāḥid (2013) Arabic-Andalusian Poetry and the Rise of the European Love-lyric. Houston: Strategic Book Publishing and Rights Co.

Nykl, A. R. (1946) Hispano-Arabic Poetry, and Its Relations with the Old Provençal Troubadours. Baltimore: J.H. Furst.

Ondaatje, Michael (1970) Leonard Cohen. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart.

Pound, Ezra, and T. S. Eliot (1963) Literary Essays of Ezra Pound. London: Faber & Faber.

Prokop, Josef, and Jiří Holub (2001) Přátelé, přiléhavý složím vers. Praha: Argo.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.