Berfrois

What are we able to know about superstar college dropouts?

What are we able to know about superstar college dropouts?

A glance at celebrity websites and magazines serves to confirm that it is possible to make a living by taking photos of very famous people doing very ordinary things: walking dogs, pumping gas, dropping children off at daycare.

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D. Joyce-Ahearne on Federico García Lorca

D. Joyce-Ahearne on Federico García Lorca

If duende, the source of inspiration that Lorca sets out to champion in his essay at the expense of the Muse, is “in sum, the spirit of the earth”, a force linking body and soil through a struggle akin to death, then the Muse is a force that speaks...

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Through Art and Buried Memory

Through Art and Buried Memory

From American Poetry Review: Lately, the word extinction floats around in my interior conversations, spurred most obviously by environmental destruction, endless and senseless wars, and of course my own awareness of personal mortality. In the trips I’ve made over the last five years to see the Ice Age painted caves...

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The letters of Ferlinghetti and Ginsberg chart a 40-year friendship…

The letters of Ferlinghetti and Ginsberg chart a 40-year friendship…

The story now feels nearly inevitable. In 1955, Allen Ginsberg moved into an apartment in the San Francisco North Beach area, just a few blocks away from Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s City Lights Pocket Bookshop.

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Oh, Sheila

Oh, Sheila

Near the beginning of Sheila Heti’s 2012 novel, How Should a Person Be?, the narrator—coyly, “Sheila”—recalls a jilted ex-lover’s composition of “an outline for a play about life—how it would unfold, decade by decade.”

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‘This book would never be published’

‘This book would never be published’

Was I really willing to write a book that wouldn’t be seen (let alone read) by anyone I knew, or anyone who might want to hire me in the future?

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Sean Kilpatrick on Grant Maierhofer

Sean Kilpatrick on Grant Maierhofer

We place restrictions on love because it never existed. Likewise art regimented by currency does nothing but trend. All creative output has been demoted to the same reliant lung work of some pettier currency.

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Makeup to Steups

Makeup to Steups

I’d been watching the girl in the painting that hung above my desk for a few months before I became obsessed with the idea of her appearing on my book cover.

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Crocodile! Crocodile!

Crocodile! Crocodile!

Instead of page numbers, “The Crocodiles,” a novel by the Egyptian writer Youssef Rakha, is marked by 405 numbered, block paragraphs, the whole symmetrically framed by references to Allen Ginsberg.

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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.

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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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“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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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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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: LGBT Struggles in Albania

This morning I woke up to a rather surprising headline: "first gay marriage in Tirana." The article referred to the marriage ceremony recently held...

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Feroz Rather in Srinagar

Though the war was still going on, it was not a terribly sad time in my life; at least, I had the consolation of...

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Foucault’s Politics of Truth by Stuart Elden

The key figures are Cardinal Richelieu and Chancellor Séguier, and Foucault thinks it is important that he can discern the “first great deployment of...

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Menachem Feuer on Sarah Silverman and Lena Dunham

Elle called Silverman’s image of her wearing a shirt with several naked Lena Dunhams a “beautiful tribute.” Dunham, the article tells us, “seemed to...

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Mediamacro are very good at pretending…

A few weeks ago I was having dinner with David Cameron. Well, almost - we were at the same restaurant but on tables at...

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Tammy Ho Lai-Ming: One Little Room

A room with graffitied walls. Inside this room the dogs bark. A room cluttered with porcelain figurines. A room decorated with binary numbers.

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Jeremy Fernando
Jeremy Fernando on Tan Chui Mui

For, it is not as if films speak; nor are their filmmakers there—at the site where this alleged speaking to, speech, takes place —...

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David Beer
David Beer: Make Happy, Happy, Happy

As I read through William Davies’ engaging new book, I can’t help but wonder what Mad Men’s Don Draper would have made of John...

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Russell Bennetts: Coffee for 8 More

I might be the last person you should ask about St. Paul coffee in general. On an ordinary day I make do with drip...

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Emeline Edgewood
In X the Promise

X seems to want to be both the equivalent of The Giant and of Laura Palmer’s mother in Twin Peaks.

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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Municipal

Although there are also some independent candidates who may take a few votes here and there, the general opinion of the Tirana public and...

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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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