Berfrois

T.S. Eliot on Hamlet

T.S. Eliot on Hamlet

Few critics have even admitted that Hamlet the play is the primary problem, and Hamlet the character only secondary.

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Jenny Diski is not cheery or brave or serene at the moment…

Jenny Diski is not cheery or brave or serene at the moment…

I’ve been writing a more or less monthly memoir of my life in the sixties and seventies when I lived with Doris Lessing, and my continuing relationship with her until her death last year at 94. It is also an ongoing portrait of my incurable cancer.

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at/to/on/no/of.

at/to/on/no/of.

At long last, an electronic book for review! Its title—the beginning of a script—is shebang!—hashbang, pound-bang, hash-exclam, hash-pling!

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“There could be that glimmer of collectivity”

“There could be that glimmer of collectivity”

There’s a weird way in which the novels had a relation to poetry: with 10:04 I wrote that long poem, the one that’s excerpted in the book, before I wrote the novel – but I had no idea that it was going to have a life in the novel....

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A Perfect Grill

A Perfect Grill

Della and Tatum, Sweet Pea and Packy, Ida and Cal. You met a lot of unpretentious people in Philip Levine’s spare, ironic poems of the industrial heartland.

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Mark Mordue: Curate. Content. Click.

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 he is a modern-day Oscar Wilde.

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With a Dying Catfish as Witness

With a Dying Catfish as Witness

Robinson’s latest novel, Lila, turns our attention to Lila Ames, who wanders into Gilead in search of work and soon becomes Ames’s second wife.

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Oliver Farry on Michel Houellebecq

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, in the wider scheme of things, small potatoes.

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Andre Gerard Wins!

Andre Gerard Wins!

Congratulations to Andre Gerard of Vancouver, British Columbia, the winner of the inaugural Berfrois Poetry Prize!

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Missing

Missing

The Missing Pieces derives its power from how it pitches its content against formal manipulation of two kinds of syntax: the order and patterning of the unit losses, and the word order and patterning of clauses between the bullets that separate those units.

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MDMA Four Times a Day

MDMA Four Times a Day

How an obscure 1980s collection might be poetry's best one-night stand.

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Eliot was growing old, Eliot was growing old…

Eliot was growing old, Eliot was growing old…

Young Eliot marks both a milestone and a turning point. First, it coincides with the 50th anniversary of his death.

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“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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Jerry Moore: Feverish Rivers

I learned that Gerardo Reichel-Dolmatoff had been a Nazi when I was in a Santa Marta supermarket. I had just stepped into the Exito...

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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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