Typed letter signed (“Leonard”) to Marianne Ihlen ("Dear Marianne"), Montreal, 1 July 1963.

Two pages, 245 x 190mm, aerogram.

"Whenever I think of you something profound opens in me: I don't know whether it's a flower or a wound."

Back in Montreal and feeling deflated, Cohen sends a lengthy melancholy letter. Though outwardly things looked good for both him and Marianne—he was awaiting the autumn publication of The Favorite Game, and she was modeling in Greece—their recent time together had proven very rocky. Cohen now found himself pressed for money ("I just borrowed $50 from Irving to cover last month's rent") and was questioning everything, even the prospect of writing for a living. "It’s hard to work under these conditions, even if I were in good shape, which I’m not. Something in me is gone, you might as well know this. If I don’t find some new position from which to write, and find it very soon, I’d better stop thinking of myself as a novelist. It gives me a certain pleasure to write this letter. I’m sick of being a brilliant young success. It was such a lie. Now the shit is so much in evidence that I don’t have to lie.”

Interestingly, he mentions the prospect of selling his manuscripts: “On the so-called brighter side: some library will probably buy my manuscripts within the next two months, according to the agent. They’ll pay $3500.”

In closing he writes, "I miss you in my tattered way. I remember how lovely you looked in the sun and what a high price that vision demanded. We have not been very good to one another, and I'd like to find out who began the failure of courtesy and kindness."

By descent from Marianne Ihlen.
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Write Me and Tell Me Your Heart: Leonard Cohen's Letters to Marianne
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