Berfrois

Manifesting Canada’s Identity by Julian Hanna

Manifesting Canada’s Identity by Julian Hanna

As a genre, the manifesto (the avant-garde variety, not the mainstream political platform) moves in and out of fashion. Political and social upheaval tends to put manifestos back in vogue.

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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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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.”

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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.”

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Melissa Broder’s Latest 32 Tweets

Melissa Broder’s Latest 32 Tweets

almost ready to be ok but not yet

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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.

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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.

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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.

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“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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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