Berfrois

Jessica Sequeira Meets Aalooran Rahman Bora

Jessica Sequeira Meets Aalooran Rahman Bora

what else is a journey around the interior of a tuk-tuk but a journey around the interior of one’s own head?

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‘Open up MS Word a lot’

‘Open up MS Word a lot’

The Acquired Inability to Escape, Damien Hirst, 1991 From The Outlet: 1. After you move back home to work on your novel, slump into a depression. Feel like nothing really matters. Open up MS Word a lot but don’t type much. Make a video for one of the two stories...

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Sexton let it slip because Aunt Bea asked around…

Sexton let it slip because Aunt Bea asked around…

As I grow engrossed in the writing, I feel the benevolent spirits of my aunts hovering close by. They were avid readers, as is my mother, their younger sister. My grandmother (the same one who crocheted the afghan) was mystified by this love of literature; when one of her...

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Crazy Characters

Crazy Characters

Around 1905 or 1906, Sigmund Freud wrote an essay, unpublished in his lifetime, called “Psychopathic Characters on the Stage.” The essay addressed the question of what we, as spectators, get out of watching people go crazy. Freud’s theory was that we’re fascinated by crazy characters because they help us...

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The Chinese have a stronger claim on Pearl Buck than the Americans do…

The Chinese have a stronger claim on Pearl Buck than the Americans do…

Pearl Buck receives the Nobel Prize for Literature from King Gustav V of Sweden, Stockholm, 1938. From World Literature Today: I have no intention of rehearsing yet another diatribe against the Swedish Academy’s Nobel committee in Stockholm, which, as is well known in US publishing circles, hasn’t awarded its...

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Monica Popescu on J. M. Coetzee

Monica Popescu on J. M. Coetzee

Hillbrow, Johannesburg, South Africa. Photograph by Zunelle Cairns by Monica Popescu Literature should generate lively public debates — all scholars worth their salt will proclaim. We believe in the importance of culture and think that intellectual tussles over significant books, and not celebrity gossip, should grace the front page...

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Andrew Hodgson on Alexander Trocchi

Andrew Hodgson on Alexander Trocchi

Much is written of Alexander Trocchi’s “profound nihilism”. It is often argued that in his rejection and modification of language and narrative; work and reality (through taking heroin): he “willed death”; “willed to nothingness”. In his “serious novels” Young Adam and Cain’s Book amongst the detachment from other people;...

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Wait–Whit–What?

Wait–Whit–What?

by Mike Chasar The January 2013 issue of PMLA has a pretty cool article (“Whitman’s Children“) by Bowdoin College English Professor Peter Coviello that takes as its starting point a couple of babies born after the U.S. Civil War that were named Walt—a nominal tribute that two veterans paid...

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> look

> look

Each time I access “Galatea,” Emily Short’s fabulous piece of interactive fiction, a supple string of text hails me, flirts with me, and stops just short of calling me by name. Strictly speaking, this mode of address should not be possible, at least not according to the familiar conventions...

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A Very Dark Bargain by Nicholas Rombes

A Very Dark Bargain by Nicholas Rombes

Right at the phrase “…Black beads and broke” – I felt the sharp kick of recognition and, putting The Glimmering Room back down on my desk, understood that Cruz's words activated a dark mechanism whose soft gears I could feel turning within me. They would tear me apart from...

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Daniel Bosch: Dambudzo Marechera

Daniel Bosch: Dambudzo Marechera

Years ago, reviewing Dambudzo Marechera’s collection of stories and poems, The House of Hunger, I called him the Zimbabwean Keats. I don’t want to recant the estimation of the power of his work such a moniker implies, but it should be said that Marechera was no slight, mild-mannered, generous...

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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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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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