Berfrois

Fox, Shagger

Fox, Shagger

From London Review of Books: Like his hero Robert Graves, Hughes tirelessly pursued the White Goddess, or the Goddess of Complete Being as he called her in his study of Shakespeare, both in his imagination and in the forms that she assumed in the women whom he met and slept...

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Gravity’s Relativism

Gravity’s Relativism

How to relate philosophical thought to literary practice? And, conversely, how to illuminate issues presented in narrative literature by having recourse to systems of philosophy? These are the two preeminent questions that Martin Paul Eve asks himself and answers impressively in his recent study Pynchon and Philosophy: Wittgenstein, Foucault...

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‘You can spend your whole life thinking of death’

‘You can spend your whole life thinking of death’

You can spend your whole life thinking of death. Or soaring from it. My father was the opposite of Glück’s — steeped instead in the earthly, the decimal point, and the profit margin.

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As dead as the rabbits and guinea-pigs with whom they once had tea?

As dead as the rabbits and guinea-pigs with whom they once had tea?

It may seem curious to begin with Dante and pass on to the Children’s Rabbits’ House; but I require both to explain what it is I mean by Limbo; no such easy matter on trying.

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Weathering Heights

Weathering Heights

“No weather will be found in this book,” Mark Twain declares in the opening pages of his 1892 novel “The American Claimant.” He has determined to do without it, he explains, on the ground that it usually just gets in the way of the story.

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Indie, Marvel or DC?

Indie, Marvel or DC?

Clowes was born in Chicago in 1961, the younger of two sons. His parents divorced when he was 2, and his mother married a business partner of his dad’s.

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Slowly Drinking

Slowly Drinking

The nights I could not sleep, I would walk. There is an idea that London never sleeps; this is not quite true. There is a tidal lull, a drowsy half-stillness in those hazy hours between its periods of madness.

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Max Ritvo Writes to Sarah Ruhl

Max Ritvo Writes to Sarah Ruhl

Dearest Max, A letter. And fair warning—this is a letter about the afterlife, so read on only if you wish to contemplate such things.

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Once a Great Sleeper

Once a Great Sleeper

The question: “Why do so many women have so many problems with sleep?” is an important question for me because I am a bad sleeper who was not always a bad sleeper, who was once a great sleeper.

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The Sea’s Salty Spray

The Sea’s Salty Spray

My first teaching job carried me straight from the RAF and England to St. John’s, Newfoundland, when I was but 27. I still find my first impressions to be the overpowering ones: of fog or knocking sea.

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Dossing Down in Doorways

Dossing Down in Doorways

Paris, Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, Nuit Blanche : Nathan Coley, 2006. Photograph by Vincent Desjardins From Dublin Review of Books: Sante’s chapter on insurgents across the centuries is detailed and evocative but ties itself, however colourfully, to a history of facts and dates and salient events. By chapter 11 even the...

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Helen Blejerman: Dessert First

Helen Blejerman: Dessert First

by Helen Blejerman Graphic Details: Jewish Women’s Confessional Comics in Essays and Interviews, Edited by Sarah Lightman, McFarland, 316 pp. Sarah Lightman uses the word confession in her title, but it is clear that these women artists were not looking for repentance or absolution. The word is used to mean...

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Words never make anything that is useful…

Words never make anything that is useful…

The title of this series is “Words Fail Me,” and this particular talk is called “Craftsmanship.” We must suppose, therefore, that the talker is meant to discuss the craft of words — the craftsmanship of the writer.

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Two Lines of Poetic Development

Two Lines of Poetic Development

What seems to me chiefly remarkable in the popular conception of a Poet is its unlikeness to the truth. Misconception in this case has been flattered, I fear, by the poets themselves.

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Sorokin has long been tarred as a scandalmonger and, even worse, a postmodernist…

Sorokin has long been tarred as a scandalmonger and, even worse, a postmodernist…

I’ve been waiting for years for Vladimir Sorokin’s second novel, Norma (The Norm), to appear in English translation. It wasn’t published in the author’s native Russia until 1994, a decade after Sorokin finished it, so perhaps there’s hope yet.

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The Goethezeit

The Goethezeit

If he hadn’t lived from 1749 to 1832, safely into the modern era and the age of print, but had instead flourished when Shakespeare did, there would certainly be scholars today theorizing that the life and work of half a dozen men had been combined under Goethe’s name.

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