Berfrois

Andre Gerard: Hullo Fadduh

Andre Gerard: Hullo Fadduh

Ever since Edmund Gosse published Father and Son in 1907, father memoirs have caused a kind of Linnean unease. Talking about Gosse’s book in The Development of English Biography (1927), Harold Nicholson said it is not "a conventional biography; still less is it an autobiography. It is something entirely...

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The Chums of Dyn-O-Mite!

The Chums of Dyn-O-Mite!

Chicago World’s Fair 1893, H. D. Nichols, 1861-1897 by Ralph Clare Pynchon’s Against the Day: A Corrupted Pilgrim’s Guide, edited by Jeffrey Severs and Christopher Leise, Rowman & Littlefield, 320 pp. Pynchon’s Against the Day: A Corrupted Pilgrim’s Guide, edited by Jeffrey Severs and Christopher Leise, mixes venerable scholars...

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THE CAPACITY

THE CAPACITY

Kirill Medvedev’s poems are easy to get into. He explains situations, tells stories about people. You don’t mind listening and want to hear more. He’s contemplative and calm and reasonable, even when he’s making a wakeup call, dissing and dressing down, asking why things can’t be rearranged. The vocabulary...

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Girls Like Sappho

Girls Like Sappho

Poet and performer Olga Krause traces her life as a lesbian in Russia—from Soviet times, when the word itself was barely known, through increasing acceptance, and back to a newly violent and hostile environment.

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None but Wits

None but Wits

by Margaret Cavendish Those that have very quick Thoughts, shall speak readier than write; because in speaking they are not tied to any style or number: besides, in speaking, Thoughts lie loose and careless; but in writing they are gathered up, and are like water in a Cup whose...

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Giorgio Fontana: Happy Birthday Kafka

Giorgio Fontana: Happy Birthday Kafka

The man who was born one hundred and thirty years ago today in Prague didn't have a simple fate: he lived a restless life, trying to dominate the "immense world in his head". The son of the surly merchant Hermann Kafka, young Franz was a model employee but also...

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‘The language cannot be contemporary’

‘The language cannot be contemporary’

by Justin E. H. Smith I want to say a number of different sorts of thing about Blood Meridian, but I think it will be true to the way Cormac McCarthy himself approached the novel in its creation to move out from the most elementary constituents. Let’s start with apostrophes....

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Song of Whitman

Song of Whitman

Walt Whitman, Camden, New Jersey, 1891. Photograph by Samuel Murray by Justin E. H. Smith I am able to read Walt Whitman only in small doses, for fear of being overpowered by a sort of rapturous assent, tears in my eyes, unable to comprehend how it is even possible...

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To Love a Wall?

To Love a Wall?

Robert Frost’s second book, North of Boston (1914), has almost universally been considered the defining moment of his literary maturation. First published in England when the poet was forty years old, it reflected twenty hard and lonely years of quiet artistic development.

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With perfection, there’s no more discussion…

With perfection, there’s no more discussion…

“A writer in the act of writing must fear neither his own words nor anything else in the world,” Heini tells Algin in Irmgard Keun’s After Midnight. Algin is considering writing a historical novel that will satisfy the stiff submission requirements of the Reich Chamber of Literature. The historical...

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Apples Explode

Apples Explode

James Salter speaking at Tulane University, New Orleans, 2010 From London Review of Books: It isn’t Salter’s language alone that numbers him among the masters, but it is what strikes you first. From Light Years of 1975: ‘On the stands in nearby orchards were hard, yellow apples filled with...

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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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An Enigma Wrapped Inside an Enigma by Michael Munro

There is perhaps nothing more enigmatic in the history of philosophy than that which in the tradition is known as the active intellect (nous...

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