Berfrois

Wistful Blonde’s Hair

Wistful Blonde’s Hair

The contribution of my former department to the general gaiety was to be a talk by Margaret Drabble, on the topic of young women at university in the 1960s and 1970s.

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One Rapture of an Inspiration

One Rapture of an Inspiration

The fifth (and final) definition of “revision” in the OED is “the fact of seeing a person or thing again; an instance of this; a fresh or new vision of something.”

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Drink Through

Drink Through

Sit in silence in the dark. Vibrate vigorously. Roll on your side. Picture tight, glistening calves and dark eyebrows.

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Uber, Deleted

Uber, Deleted

For about three months this year, I drove an Uber taxi in London (as research for a book about the company). My entry into this world of casual employment was greeted by reams of pseudo-emancipatory rhetoric.

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Plath’s (Crystalline, Determined) Letters

Plath’s (Crystalline, Determined) Letters

When reading Sylvia Plath’s private writing – her letters, her diaries – one always wonders just what her life would have been like had she been born in 1942 rather than in 1932.

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‘We were subversives, a little suspect, a little uncomfortable’

‘We were subversives, a little suspect, a little uncomfortable’

I am not the only woman who worked at Playboy and kept her clothes on. When I was hired as literary editor in 2005...

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Electric Limits

Electric Limits

Larkin really was a hermit. He disliked virtually everyone who worked for the university, and especially those in my department.

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Corruption, It’s Bad

Corruption, It’s Bad

Having set off for Moscow after a dinner with friends, the hero awakens outside of Kolpino from an intolerable rocking. Seeing in front of him the windshield bespattered with vomit.

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‘We have not yet abandoned the citadels that the modernists established’

‘We have not yet abandoned the citadels that the modernists established’

In the tumultuous period that began in the late 1910s and ended in the late 1940s, poet-critics began to consolidate their cultural gains by making a durable place for literary modernism in the American social order.

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We Love Harder

We Love Harder

From Tangerine, Magnolia Pictures, 2015 From Evening Will Come: Our will to be is driven by our will to love ourselves and each other. I have never seen anything more revolutionary than the love that is shared between and among Black people. And what is possibilized through our love of...

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Elizabeth Bowen for the Pub Wall!

Elizabeth Bowen for the Pub Wall!

Iris Murdoch famously said that being a woman ‘is like being Irish … everyone says you’re important and nice, but you take second place all the time.’

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Is Eileen Myles done with New York? Nope…

Is Eileen Myles done with New York? Nope…

Eileen Myles sits at a small café in the East Village, near the apartment they have called home for 40 years. Myles, who now prefers to use gender-neutral pronouns...

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Jessica Sequeira translates El Quijote

Jessica Sequeira translates El Quijote

Perhaps it seems obvious to you, dear reader, that a professor like myself, established in the academic world as a specialist in Spanish literature, would attempt a translation of a great work in the language.

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Lisa Marie Basile on Instagram Poets

Lisa Marie Basile on Instagram Poets

It was 2000. We were very, very poor, living in Elizabeth, NJ, and life was very much by-the-paycheck. Bear with me here; we're going to talk sob-story and then move onto the bigger picture.

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Hannah Pezzack on Amanda Lee Koe

Hannah Pezzack on Amanda Lee Koe

Instead of documenting Singaporean sub/culture in a derivative way, Koe’s stories focus on the mediation of identity, space and time.

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Scott Manley Hadley on Peter Stamm

Scott Manley Hadley on Peter Stamm

To The Back of Beyond is a beguiling novel with what initially appears to be a simple split-narrative structure. Thomas is a man of about 40 who walks out..

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Andrew Epstein on John Ashbery

Andrew Epstein on John Ashbery

This past Sunday, September 3, brought the very sad news that John Ashbery had passed away at the age of 90. Ashbery has long been regarded as the greatest and most influential living American poet.

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Invited to the Best Parties

Invited to the Best Parties

We all know that a book can change the shape of history. Think The Communist Manifesto and Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis, not to mention the Bible and the Koran. But a book review? How much influence could a book review possibly have?

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‘Third Culture Kids have yet another filter to their perspective’

‘Third Culture Kids have yet another filter to their perspective’

It was a startling thing to me to realize that the African Americans in my college were so different from the Nigerians I had grown up with.

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Jessica Sequeira on Mara Pastor

Jessica Sequeira on Mara Pastor

As a poetic symbol, the scar might seem to be hopelessly banal and overwrought. For Mara Pastor, the scar is not just a symbol for romantic pain...

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