Berfrois

Crocodile! Crocodile!

Crocodile! Crocodile!

Instead of page numbers, “The Crocodiles,” a novel by the Egyptian writer Youssef Rakha, is marked by 405 numbered, block paragraphs, the whole symmetrically framed by references to Allen Ginsberg.

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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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Moby Dick is a wonderful target for critics who like to identify the books that Melville plundered…

Moby Dick is a wonderful target for critics who like to identify the books that Melville plundered…

Who Herman Melville was and what he actually thought about anything are altogether unsatisfying questions that have never been answered in a satisfying way.

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A Year Without Summer

A Year Without Summer

A vampire is a thirsty thing, spreading metaphors like antigens through its victim’s blood. It is a rare situation that is not revealingly defamiliarized by the introduction of a vampiric motif, whether it be migration and industrial change in Dracula, adolescent sexuality inTwilight, or racism in True Blood.

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I, I, I, I

I, I, I, I

The most compelling feature of William Carlos Williams’s poetry, for me, has perhaps always been the complex tango of virility and fragility that fight it out in his deeply autobiographical poetry.

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David Beer: Make Happy, Happy, Happy

David Beer: Make Happy, Happy, Happy

As I read through William Davies’ engaging new book, I can’t help but wonder what Mad Men’s Don Draper would have made of John B. Watson.

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In X the Promise

In X the Promise

X seems to want to be both the equivalent of The Giant and of Laura Palmer’s mother in Twin Peaks.

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Lost and not knowing where to go next…

Lost and not knowing where to go next…

You can find his lost interview on YouTube—or the surviving fifteen minutes of it at least. In 1971 Michel Foucault and Noam Chomsky participated in the now famous debate on the topic of human nature, live on Dutch television.

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On Cide Hamete Benengeli

On Cide Hamete Benengeli

Nabokov said its humor did not age well, and unlike Moby-Dick, which is occasionally dismissed as a school-boy's adventure story but never as hokey or stale.

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Art is long, but life is short…

Art is long, but life is short…

Image by RubyGoes From Slate: All poetry critics are on the hunt for neon-lined, essential truths about their subjects—but James has an uncanny instinct for where to look. It’s precision not just of vocabulary—of intuiting the right words to describe a tone or style—but of thought. James has mastered...

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The Pleasures of Readerly Discomfort and Difficulty

The Pleasures of Readerly Discomfort and Difficulty

I was an undergraduate at Cambridge at an interesting moment in the history of the university’s curriculum in English literature. When I matriculated in 1993, more than ten years had elapsed since the Leavisites had failed to promote Colin MacCabe due to his teaching of “structuralism.”

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Words went scuttling past like beetles…

Words went scuttling past like beetles…

Alongside Schulz’s extraordinary fiction and his horrendous death, there remains one more element of his legend.

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Michael Munro: Clarity

Michael Munro: Clarity

“If reading is not to be simply synonymous with deciphering, commentary or even interpretation,” Geoffrey Bennington has written, “then it must inevitably encounter the question of the unreadable”

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Amy Glynn: Call Me Back

Amy Glynn: Call Me Back

Dear You, I am writing these lines from northern Washington on the day of the year when I most hate northern Washington; the one that does not end.

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Good books are the sort for the young to read…

Good books are the sort for the young to read…

Being told I would be expected to talk here, I inquired what sort of talk I ought to make. They said it should be something suitable to youth-something didactic, instructive, or something in the nature of good advice.

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Popomo

Popomo

Let’s call this phase after postmodernism post-postmodernism – “popomo” for short.

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‘What is the use’

‘What is the use’

Not everything Gertrude Stein wrote is worth calling poetry. Stein says so herself in “Poetry and Grammar,” because “for me the problem of poetry was and it began with Tender Buttons to constantly realize the thing anything so that I could recreate that thing.”

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Oscillation

Oscillation

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

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En Liang Khong: Full Bloom

The cross-dressing Qiu Jin was emblematic of a revolutionary feminist current at the end of the Qing era, writing urgently on women’s emancipation: “While...

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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei
Very Much Like a Whale by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei

They had obviously taken the pictures of the whale, and the group of people carrying it, out of curiosity. But still the images failed...

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Oscillation

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

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Menachem Feuer: Body

While Sarah Silverman jokingly tells us that her Jewish identity has more to do with her body than with the “responsibilities and limitations” that...

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Jeremy Fernando: Pink

An offering that might well remain in its being offered.

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Rosie Clarke Chats to Amelia Gray

I get the impulse to look to the canon, but I think we should try and challenge and squash the canon, too.

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Mario Carpo: Voice, Words, Memory

It all started with cellphones, a long time ago. No student, and few teachers, would make voice calls from class, but in the early...

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Remembrance of Translations Past

Although Charles Kenneth Scott Moncrieff’s translation of À la recherche du temps perdu is considered by many journalists and writers to be the best...

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Colin Dickey: Time’s Resistless Stream

By now, we are all of us more or less apocalyptic. Our calendar is itself based on the apocalyptic return of Jesus Christ, counting...

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Mark Mordue: Curate. Content. Click.

Not that ‘the critic’ has ever been a greatly appreciated or understood figure. Some fat toad with a feather in his hat who thinks...

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Russell Bennetts
Street Fighter: Berfrois Interviews Tariq Ali

The extreme centre is a form of government that arose out of neoliberal economics and exists today in virtually the whole of Europe, North...

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John Crutchfield: Go West

Perhaps this is what finally draws me back to the Western. It is a fundamentally serious genre. It deals with serious questions, and it...

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Joel Gn on Henri Lefebvre

How may we speak of that which goes off the record in an age of digital colonisation?

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Volker M. Welter on Michael Graves

The designer Michael Graves, who passed away at the age of 80 on March 12th, was widely considered to be one of the founding...

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