Berfrois

Andre Gerard: How Should One Read Tolstoy and Woolf?

Andre Gerard: How Should One Read Tolstoy and Woolf?

In To the Lighthouse Woolf deliberately included elements of Anna Karenina, thereby putting into practice some of the ideas contained in her essay. For instance, the stillborn marriage proposal between Varenka and Sergei is a template for the suspended courtship between William Bankes and Lily.

Read More

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?...

Read More

“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?

Read More

‘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?

Read More

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”.

Read More

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.’

Read More

‘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.

Read More

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.”

Read More

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.”

Read More

Melissa Broder’s Latest 32 Tweets

Melissa Broder’s Latest 32 Tweets

almost ready to be ok but not yet

Read More

Is the poem always a record of failure?

Is the poem always a record of failure?

Rimbaud is the enfant terrible who burns through the sayable; Oppen is the poet of the left whose quiet is a sign of commitment.

Read More

Delmore Schwartz is the writer without whom…

Delmore Schwartz is the writer without whom…

Delmore Schwartz is to Jewish-American writing what Richard Wright is to African-American writing. He is the writer without whom.

Read More

Blue

Blue

These days, more often than usual, a quote comes to mind, which I've been carrying around for twenty years now, and it seems that it's quite important to me.

Read More

“it’s a’ as it is”

“it’s a’ as it is”

For most of its short generic life, the novel has depended on marriage and childbirth as signs of sexual relationship, and has had a difficulty representing sexual life beyond marriage and childbirth without the assistance of figurative language.

Read More

They Are Beautiful, Irresolute

They Are Beautiful, Irresolute

The island of Runmarö lies an hour east of Stockholm, ringed by skerries that rise out of the water. To journey there one must catch a ferry that gurgles through the chop at about 20 knots per hour.

Read More

Albert Rolls: Contagious Magic

Albert Rolls: Contagious Magic

What I did, wanted to do, was to read Renaissance texts, those of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, as if they were integrated into a cosmos that was held together with the laws of contagious and sympathetic magic.

Read More

Where Headlong Stars Have Gone

Where Headlong Stars Have Gone

The last couple of years have finally allowed us to say this safely about Georgia – a nation, which, prior to the time of Shakespeare, possessed a literary inheritance almost comparable to that of England.

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
Oscillation

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

Read More
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...

Read More
Jeremy Fernando: Pink

An offering that might well remain in its being offered.

Read More
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.

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
Joel Gn on Henri Lefebvre

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

Read More
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...

Read More