Berfrois

“J.M. Coetzee”

“J.M. Coetzee”

On 21 December, 2012, I had the privilege of introducing J.M. Coetzee to an expectant audience at the University of Cape Town; he was about to read from his new, as yet unpublished work, The Childhood of Jesus.

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portisheadspace

portisheadspace

Unless you're extremely married, I bet you can find two particular kinds of message in your email: the last sent to you before you finally slept with your correspondent, and the first sent afterward.

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Kamel Daoud’s Inner Vigilance by Suzanne Ruta

Kamel Daoud’s Inner Vigilance by Suzanne Ruta

George W. Bush read The Stranger during his second term in office, at the urging of historian Alexander Horne, whose Algerian war classic, A Savage War of Peace, Bush had also read, we were told. Algeria as a key to understanding Iraq? As if Arabs or “Arabs” were interchangeable?...

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Was Napoleon the true progenitor of the European Union?

Was Napoleon the true progenitor of the European Union?

In the spring of 1812, on the eve of commanding more than 600,000 soldiers to invade Russia, Napoleon Bonaparte laid out his plans for the future of Europe.

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Julian Hanna: Manifested

Julian Hanna: Manifested

Italian Futurism created the template of the avant-garde manifesto adopted by all the ‘isms’ that followed, and violence was in it from the start. “Violence and precision”, the Futurist leader Marinetti proclaimed, is the recipe for a successful manifesto.

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“I kind of look for stealth ways to write about writers”

“I kind of look for stealth ways to write about writers”

I’m just curious if that was something that just kind of happened in the process of writing the book or if you decided to do something that is a little bit more adventurous, or playful, or maybe even a little postmodern, dare I say it?

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‘Lend us a loan of your noserag to wipe my razor.’

‘Lend us a loan of your noserag to wipe my razor.’

How is it possible that even when I know nothing about a novelist’s life I find, on reading his or her book, that I am developing an awareness of the writer that is quite distinct from my response to the work?

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En Liang Khong: Full Bloom

The cross-dressing Qiu Jin was emblematic of a revolutionary feminist current at the end of the Qing era, writing urgently on women’s emancipation: “While...

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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei
Very Much Like a Whale by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei

They had obviously taken the pictures of the whale, and the group of people carrying it, out of curiosity. But still the images failed...

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Oscillation

We recognise oscillation to be the natural order of the world.

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Menachem Feuer: Body

While Sarah Silverman jokingly tells us that her Jewish identity has more to do with her body than with the “responsibilities and limitations” that...

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Jeremy Fernando: Pink

An offering that might well remain in its being offered.

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Rosie Clarke Chats to Amelia Gray

I get the impulse to look to the canon, but I think we should try and challenge and squash the canon, too.

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Mario Carpo: Voice, Words, Memory

It all started with cellphones, a long time ago. No student, and few teachers, would make voice calls from class, but in the early...

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Remembrance of Translations Past

Although Charles Kenneth Scott Moncrieff’s translation of À la recherche du temps perdu is considered by many journalists and writers to be the best...

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Colin Dickey: Time’s Resistless Stream

By now, we are all of us more or less apocalyptic. Our calendar is itself based on the apocalyptic return of Jesus Christ, counting...

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Featured Contributor

Recently, one of my colleagues decided to give me his thoughts on teaching—a kind of mini lecture—as I was waiting for the microwave to heat up my soup. He was eating a microwave corn dog in a paper sleeve decorated with circus drawings. Crunching into it. Talking about paradigms and benchmarks. Corndog. Evaulations. Corndog. User outcomes.

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The Queen and You

The Queen and You

Our sister magazine, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, is looking for new writing. Please include a brief introduction about yourself.

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Down the Mine

Down the Mine

Orwell’s account of his visit to Crippen’s mine in Bryn, near Wigan, a superb piece of journalistic writing, forms the second chapter of The Road to Wigan Pier and has also been anthologised separately as “Down the Mine”.

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Literature invariably does more than politics in fostering understanding of the Other…

Literature invariably does more than politics in fostering understanding of the Other…

‘Literature in modern Russia,’ writes historian Orlando Figes in A People’s Tragedy, his vast chronicle of the Russian Revolutions, ‘always was a surrogate for politics.’

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‘Letter-writing was in its way a substitute for opium’

‘Letter-writing was in its way a substitute for opium’

The man was Coleridge as De Quincey saw him, standing in a gateway. For it is vain to put the single word Coleridge at the head of a page — Coleridge the innumerable, the mutable, the atmospheric.

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I Battle Unarmed

I Battle Unarmed

Reading Jen Scappettone’s introduction to Rosselli, I was struck that Amelia Rosselli viewed confessionalism as “a great defect of feminine or slightly feminist literature.”

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Late Excursions Through the London Streets

Late Excursions Through the London Streets

At the end of the seventeenth century a new literary genre or subgenre emerged in England, one that might be characterized as the nocturnal picaresque.

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On Pynchon’s California Novels

On Pynchon’s California Novels

In his 2011 monograph Thomas Pynchon & the Dark Passages of History, David Cowart groups The Crying of Lot 49, Vineland, and Inherent Vice into a single, convenient category of “California novels.”

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The Bear Within

The Bear Within

I try not to weigh in on ephemeral online outrages, but there's one thing I just can't resist the urge to bring up in connection with the recent flare of fascination with Rachel Dolezal's inner life and its outer expression.

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What Clouds!

What Clouds!

And what clouds! Xu’s slow, tender pan renders them scarlet-tinged, streaked across the sky in Turneresque smears. These static frames, brushed with merely ambient sound, are composed in radiant ignition.

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Mark Mordue: Curate. Content. Click.

Not that ‘the critic’ has ever been a greatly appreciated or understood figure. Some fat toad with a feather in his hat who thinks...

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Russell Bennetts
Street Fighter: Berfrois Interviews Tariq Ali

The extreme centre is a form of government that arose out of neoliberal economics and exists today in virtually the whole of Europe, North...

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John Crutchfield: Go West

Perhaps this is what finally draws me back to the Western. It is a fundamentally serious genre. It deals with serious questions, and it...

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Joel Gn on Henri Lefebvre

How may we speak of that which goes off the record in an age of digital colonisation?

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Volker M. Welter on Michael Graves

The designer Michael Graves, who passed away at the age of 80 on March 12th, was widely considered to be one of the founding...

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Sebastian Normandin on Steven Pinker

“The great thinkers of the Age of Reason and the Enlightenment were scientists.” So begins Steven Pinker’s recent controversial essay on scientism and its...

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Oliver Farry on Michel Houellebecq

The peculiar circumstances surrounding the publication of Michel Houellebecq’s latest novel constitute a case study in how even the biggest literary news stories are,...

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McKenzie Wark
Information in Chains

“Information wants to be free, but is everywhere in chains.” The development of the forces of production took a qualitatively different turn when information...

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