If you’ve never wondered about how Jews, sex and the avant garde fit together you may have had a curiousitectomy either with or without your consent. But, so long as you have a functioning intelligence and libido you will appreciate that, despite puritanical denials, most of our vital organs lie between the seats of those two most human of faculties.
Denials, unfortunately come easily to powerful hierarchies of western civilization and sex and Jews are often two of the primary “undesirable” objects of such suppression. Thank goodness for the French, then, for providing a civilized way of bringing smut back to the English-speaking table. And thank goodness for the Girodias/Kahane family in Paris for providing the money for cutting edge avant garde literature using the funds created by selling pornography or, as they referred to them, dlb s (dirty little books). Think Larry Flynt subsidizing Matthew Barney.
And finally thank goodness for Joshua Cohen for explaining it all to us at the New Haven Review in a wonderfully written, concise and creative way: in an abecedary no less.
If that has whetted your appetite, you should go and read “Ulysses.” If instead, it has rather, slaked your thirst leaving you just in need of a light dessert, then perhaps I could suggest this from our compadres at Zeek.
Another Cohen this time, Leonard — who we all know is some kind of poet, some kind of prophet. What we don’t know, at least until Ezra Glinter gently but firmly enlightens us, is that before he was either poet or prophet, Leonard Cohen was some kind of obscene novelist. To find out what kind of obscene novelist and to discover what (if any) literary merit our Quebecois friend had, you will have to read and see!