Berfrois

Oscillation

Oscillation

We recognise oscillation to be the natural order of the world.

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Virginia Woolf: Is Biography an Art?

Virginia Woolf: Is Biography an Art?

Vanitas still life with skull, books, prints and paintings by Rembrandt and Jan Lievens, with a reflection of the painter at work, Simon Luttichuijs, 1635 – 1640 by Virginia Woolf I. The art of biography, we say — but at once go on to ask, is biography an art?...

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“Übersetzung” and “Übersetzen”

“Übersetzung” and “Übersetzen”

The German dramatist Gerhart Hauptmann (1862-1946) wrote his first drama Vor Sonnenaufgang at the age of 27. Hauptmann, though living in the small town of Erkner, a couple of miles southeast from Berlin, was in lively exchange with the newly established Berliner naturalistic group “Durch” (Engl.: “Through” or “By”)....

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Prospects for the Book

Prospects for the Book

Lightbulb and Book, Tim Mara, 1995-6 From Eurozine: Many books have been written about the future of the book, but the truth is that we still know little about the subject. The upshot of this paradoxical loop: the book has a glorious past and an unsettling present but, as...

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Is ‘Things Fall Apart’ an exemplar of literary existentialism?

Is ‘Things Fall Apart’ an exemplar of literary existentialism?

Readers of Things Fall Apart will recall the moment in the penultimate chapter of the novel when the gathering of the people of Umuofia is rudely interrupted by messengers from the white man. The messengers are confronted by Okonkwo, who happens to have taken a position at the very...

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Paige Cohen on editing EJ Koh’s debut novel

Paige Cohen on editing EJ Koh’s debut novel

Butterfly Man (Red), Arthur Boyd, 1970 by Paige Cohen I first heard EJ Koh read around one year ago at The Strand Bookstore in New York City. A year ago, we were both still MFA students living on opposite ends of Manhattan, myself a fiction candidate at The New...

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The Dutch in Java

The Dutch in Java

‘Willemskerke, Surabaya’. From Java, Sumatra and Other Islands of The Dutch East Indies by A. Cabaton, 1911 by Jenny Watson The Dutch colonial novel The Hidden Force by the fin de siècle author Louis Couperus is regarded as one of the most significant works of Dutch colonial literature. Despite...

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Andrea Brady: Food & Play

Andrea Brady: Food & Play

I began writing Mutability, a series of poetic and prose ‘scripts for infancy’, during my pregnancy and in the year following the birth of my first child, Ayla. I started not knowing what I was doing, as a parent or a writer. It was a good place to start....

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Owen and Keats

Owen and Keats

Wilfred Owen by Claire Bowen To read Wilfred Owen as anything other than an English war poet might seem like sheer, anachronistic willfulness. Yet Owen’s generational self-understanding develops as a corollary to his assertion that “English poetry” is un-“fit” to speak of war. Owen makes that assertion outright; it’s...

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Shakespeare’s Sphere of Humanity

Shakespeare’s Sphere of Humanity

Taking a turn the other day in the Abbey, I was struck with the affected attitude of a figure, which I do not remember to have seen before, and which upon examination proved to be a whole-length of the celebrated Mr. Garrick. Though I would not go so far...

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Ten Foot Alice

Ten Foot Alice

From Alice in Wonderland, Walt Disney Productions, 1951 From Poetry: In a Jefferson Airplane song that was something of a psychedelic anthem, Gracie Slick’s exhortatory, I’m-verging-on-ecstatic, sandpaper growl spoke to the feeling of transformative power that drugs held for a certain kind of user: One pill makes you larger,...

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Really?

Really?

Thomas Pynchon’s latest novel, Bleeding Edge, the third Pynchon has published since 2006, will likely be received as one of his lighter offerings. The plot follows the now unlicensed fraud investigator Maxine Tarnow as she looks into the dealings of hashslingrz, the dotcom run by Gabriel Ice, the novel’s...

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Pynchon Lives Here

Pynchon Lives Here

From Vulture: In select company, he’s intensely social and charismatic, and, in spite of those famously shaming Bugs Bunny teeth, he was rarely without a girlfriend for the 30 years he spent wandering and couch-surfing before getting married in 1990. Today, he’s a yuppie—self-confessed, if you read his new...

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Oliver Farry on Michel Houellebecq

The peculiar circumstances surrounding the publication of Michel Houellebecq’s latest novel constitute a case study in how even the biggest literary news stories are,...

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McKenzie Wark
Information in Chains

“Information wants to be free, but is everywhere in chains.” The development of the forces of production took a qualitatively different turn when information...

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Bobbi Lurie
Bobbi Lurie: Organic Fortune

isis - ebola - obama hit by halal truck (where is duchamp?)

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Bharat Azad
Bharat Azad Meets Adair Turner

In a quiet office tucked away in Mayfair – over a long table so white I am hesitant to even place my fingers on...

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Andre Gerard: Light Here, Shadow There

The deeper one looks in To the Lighthouse the more one sees. The more one listens the more one hears. Homer, Shakespeare, Conrad and...

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Claudia Landolfi: Europe’s Colonial Perversion

The aftermath of a violent act or after a sharp change of political horizons is also a crisis of imagination and language. The rupture...

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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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