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Lili Marlen and the Ghosts: Decoding a song to find a poet

Todorovic, Dragan (2017) Lili Marlen and the Ghosts: Decoding a song to find a poet. In: Billingham, Peter, ed. Spirituality and Desire in Leonard Cohen’s Songs and Poems: Visions from the Tower of Song. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, pp. 137-157. ISBN 978-1-4438-1686-1.

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Abstract

This essay aims to investigate the hidden meanings in ‘Famous Blue Raincoat’, a song from Leonard Cohen’s third album, Songs of Love and Hate, released in 1971. ‘Raincoat’ mixes firm grounding with surrealism, Greek mythology with Scientology, and has been a perpetual source of speculations since its publication, the fact not much helped by Cohen's insisting that he doesn't remember the origins of the song. The essay argues that the key protagonists of this deceptively simple love triangle are the people (and objects) who are absent from it. This is a poem of longing not for people, but for le temps perdu. The lock of hair, mentioned in the poem, is a magical container whose purpose is to control the forces of time and destruction. Elements of Jung’s theories and Eliade’s writings will be employed in dealing with this subject. In the process of decoding the poem the author is using the myth of Odysseus, the history and sociopolitical meaning of ‘Lili Marlene’, and the story within a story: in 1985 his experimental essay/story titled A Voice From the Early Morning of January 1st, inspired by ‘Famous Blue Raincoat’, was published. It was first conceived and partially written in the building of Radio Belgrade, the same place from where ‘Lili Marlene’ was played to the soldiers in Europe and Africa every night.

Item Type: Book section
Uncontrolled keywords: Leonard Cohen; Famous Blue Raincoat; Radio Belgrade; Lili Marlen
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > ML Literature on music
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of English > Centre for Creative Writing
Depositing User: Dragan Todorovic
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2019 20:43 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Nov 2019 15:40 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/78132 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Todorovic, Dragan: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1130-2341
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