Leo Robson at The New Statesman:
Much of Cohen’s work is driven by his aversion to a type of spatial metaphor that minimises the value and variety of familiar experience. His first book, Spectacular Allegories (1998), a study of modern American fiction and journalism that emerged from his PhD, questions the postmodern idea that spectacle somehow floats “outside” history and “above” material reality. It was written before Cohen was a practitioner, or even employed Freudian theory. He told me that his “obsessional preoccupation – and I’m pointedly using the singular – has been what is concealed in what is right in front of us, in what is present”. He isn’t only talking about unconscious blind-spots. The book’s title is “filched”, as he puts it, from the American poet Wallace Stevens, and Cohen expressed a particular fondness for Stevens’s idea of a “strange presence that irradiates through the world that his poems are always gesturing towards and trying to get us to see”.