Berfrois

“The ecstasy of being so high up that you no longer belong to the world below”

“The ecstasy of being so high up that you no longer belong to the world below”

A man in a purple tracksuit jogs along a concrete path across the cemetery. Does the jogger know that he is crossing the escape route of a twenty-nine-year-old man who was shot dead as he attempted to climb the cemetery wall, bound for the canal?

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Virginia Woolf on E. M. Forster

Virginia Woolf on E. M. Forster

There are many reasons which should prevent one from criticizing the work of contemporaries. Besides the obvious uneasiness — the fear of hurting feelings — there is too the difficulty of being just.

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Andre Gerard: Light Here, Shadow There

Andre Gerard: Light Here, Shadow There

The deeper one looks in To the Lighthouse the more one sees. The more one listens the more one hears. Homer, Shakespeare, Conrad and Forster are just some of the ancestral voices commenting on war.

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Amy Glynn: Ruin Graced

Amy Glynn: Ruin Graced

I suppose the early stage of a journey down a pharmacological rabbit hole is as good a time as any to take in the baked, surreal ruin of Hadrian’s Villa. Crumbling, desiccated, plundered, immense and ancient, the place rambled on for what seemed like miles.

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Mary Wollstonecraft on the silken wings of fancy

Mary Wollstonecraft on the silken wings of fancy

A taste for rural scenes, in the present state of society, appears to be very often an artificial sentiment, rather inspired by poetry and romances, than a real perception of the beauties of nature. But, as it is reckoned a proof of refined taste to praise the calm pleasures...

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Virginia Woolf’s Times by Andre Gerard

Virginia Woolf’s Times by Andre Gerard

After Macbeth, Heart of Darkness. After Heart of Darkness, Howards End. Only connect. Just as the Marlow name provides a connection to Heart of Darkness, the Bast name links To the Lighthouse with Howards End. Old Mrs. Bast’s name builds a powerful bridge by way of poor Leonard Bast....

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And Now There Are Ten

And Now There Are Ten

The qualifying poem by each of these finalists will be published at Berfrois in the coming two weeks. Each finalist has submitted four more poems to Berfrois, and the winner of the 2015 Berfrois Poetry Prize will be selected on the basis of the finalists’ five-poem portfolios.

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Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Metamodernism*

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Metamodernism*

Ours is a generation raised in the ‘80s and ‘90s, on a diet of The Simpsons and South Park, for whom postmodern irony and cynicism is a default setting, something ingrained in us.

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Andre Gerard: To the War

Andre Gerard: To the War

“The Horror! The Horror!” By gentle degrees, by looking at names and intertextual references to Macbeth, Heart of Darkness, Howards End and The Odyssey, I want to make To the Lighthouse new again.

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Can fiction compete with history?

Can fiction compete with history?

In the autumn of 1967, the novelists Carlos Fuentes and Mario Vargas Llosa were drinking in a London pub. The conversation paused on Edmund Wilson’s book of portraits from the American Civil War, Patriotic Gore, and then, Fuentes recalled, they had a moment of inspiration – why not...

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The Threat to Printed Books

The Threat to Printed Books

One would like to be as cheerful as this about the future of the printed book, or even the book, but the analogy with newspapers, which each year continue to record further steep declines in sales, leading to the extinction of many venerable titles, does not give us great...

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Woolf, it seems, was predisposed to find Ulysses undeserving of Eliot’s praise…

Woolf, it seems, was predisposed to find Ulysses undeserving of Eliot’s praise…

In February of 1922, just after James Joyce's Ulysses appeared, Virginia Woolf wrote to her sister Vanessa, who was then in Paris: “for Gods sake make friends with Joyce. I particularly want to know what he’s like.”

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Poetry Prize Now Open for Entries

Poetry Prize Now Open for Entries

Between now and 11:59:59 pm GMT on Sunday December 31, 2014, poets may submit to Berfrois, using its online submission manager, a single, original, poem in English which is not a translation, but may be in any mode or form, up to 300 lines.

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Lauren Berlant
Lauren Berlant flies

Most of the writing we do is actually a performance of stuckness. It is a record of where we got stuck on a question...

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Robyn Ferrell on Balthus

The pitfalls of identification, hero-worship, envy and malice can beset the most patient writer in the throes of five hundred-plus pages of attention to...

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Michael Munro on Spinoza

Immanence is not philosophy, nor philosophy immanence. But there is in the passage from one to the other a modification of sense that is...

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David Beer
David Beer: Broadcastwerk

Writing at sometime around 1930 or 1931, Walter Benjamin suggested that the voice on the radio is a like a visitor in the home,...

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Rose Barnsley: Young, Gifted and Žižekian

At nineteen, it is easy to think that all you're missing is the right movement. But there is something about the young left wing...

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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Rama’s And

While local journalists were once again busy regurgitating worn-down, coma inducing positions about yet another spectral appearance of Enver Hoxha at the celebration of...

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Playing the Percentages: Berfrois Interviews Danny Dorling

The portrait of the 1% in your book is one of sociopathic, power-hungry narcissists with a striking lack of empathy. This may seem antagonistic,...

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Joseph Spece
Joseph Spece: When Gamers Attack

Like many ugly controversies, the beginnings of #gamergate are linked to the end of love — well, the end of a relationship, at least....

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Lauren Berlant performs by clicking

Today I introduced Facebook to someone older than me and had a long conversation about what the point of networking amongst “friends” is. The...

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Tinder Times by Bibi Deitz

I am in bed with a man. He has to go home. He is not staying the night. So he pulls out his iPhone...

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Jenny Diski keeps up

Some things are best met with silence. If I were to proceed with this month’s column in an honest way, it would be a...

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From Fashion by Tracy O’Neill

The man who brought us a disembodied protagonist alluringly voiced by Scarlett Johansson has now issued a drama — starring apparel. Recently, Opening Ceremony...

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Philippe Theophanidis on Jean-Luc Godard

At one point near the end of his unfinished novel Jean Santeuil, Marcel Proust describes a painting by Claude Monet from 1897, titled “Bras...

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An Enigma Wrapped Inside an Enigma by Michael Munro

There is perhaps nothing more enigmatic in the history of philosophy than that which in the tradition is known as the active intellect (nous...

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