Berfrois

Missing

Missing

The Missing Pieces derives its power from how it pitches its content against formal manipulation of two kinds of syntax: the order and patterning of the unit losses, and the word order and patterning of clauses between the bullets that separate those units.

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Charles LaPorte: Seeming Prey

Charles LaPorte: Seeming Prey

Victorian poetry is famous for documenting the emergence of key strains of secular modern thought, including those associated with natural science and modern biblical criticism. Breathtaking advances in astronomy, geology, and evolutionary biology during this era had produced a very different looking cosmos from that imagined in the book...

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Playing can be the most serious thing in the world…

Playing can be the most serious thing in the world…

Julio Cortázar From The Nation: One evening, perhaps a decade ago, I was walking along Canal Street in Manhattan’s Chinatown when a fishmonger, rushing out of his shop carrying a tank full of eels, slipped. Before he could let out a curse, there were eels and elvers everywhere: dark...

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X & Co.

X & Co.

Melvin B. Tolson by Harris Feinsod Whenever a new anthology of modern U.S. poetry comes along, it seems that some distinguished critic or other is fated to take up arms, defending his or her vision of canonical distinction against the treachery of “inclusiveness.” The latest eminence to cast herself...

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Listen

Listen

by Noah Arceneaux Sonic Persuasion: Reading Sound in the Recorded Age, by Greg Goodale, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 208 pp. Given the subject matter of this work, it seems only appropriate to begin with a musical metaphor. Sonic Persuasions is like one of those rock ‘n’ roll albums...

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High Ships

High Ships

Lampudesa From Poetry: Across the piazza, there’s a little museum for the found leavings of refugees. Here are the things that wash up: plates, water bottles, prayer books in every imaginable language. Its curator is Giacomo Sferlazzo, in dreadlocks, who is a painter and musician (he gives me a...

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Jonathan Lear: Isn’t It, Don’t You Think?

Jonathan Lear: Isn’t It, Don’t You Think?

Crow Indians, photograph by David F. Barry, c.1878 by Jonathan Lear On the face of it, a conception does not seem the sort of thing it is easy to lose. If we think of our life with concepts in terms of our ways of going on, categorizing and thinking about...

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What do poetry editors do with all their time?

What do poetry editors do with all their time?

From Poetry: In a conversation I’m picturing, an imaginary American novelist named Pat is having drinks with a poet who is also the editor of some sort of poetry journal.  This poet is named Kendall: Pat: Does it ever happen that someone gives you a poem for your magazine,...

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Splendid Cabin

Splendid Cabin

Abraham Lincoln famously greeted Harriet Beecher Stowe at the White House in 1862, “so you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.”

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Waste Paper

Waste Paper

‘Terse As Virulent Hermaphrodites’: Middlebrow Representations of Modernist Poets in the 1920s   by George Simmers Based on a  paper given at the conference on ‘The Popular Imagination and the Dawn of Modernism’, at the Institute of English Studies, University of London, 15 September, 2011. In P.G. Wodehouse’s 1925...

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“Is it a jail, father?”

“Is it a jail, father?”

Engraving of the U.S. Treasury building in 1804, from Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, No. 262, March, 1872 by Alison K. Hoagland Fortress of Finance: The United States Treasury Building, by Pamela Scott, Washington DC: Treasury Historical Association, Illustrations. xiv + 318 pp Pamela Scott, the premier architectural historian of...

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Cosima was Wagner’s wife, the one word Jessa Crispin hadn’t searched for…

Cosima was Wagner’s wife, the one word Jessa Crispin hadn’t searched for…

Cosima Wagner From The Smart Set: “Find Madame Wagner, and you will find yourself,” the man told me. It wasn’t quite the spiritual quest I had been expecting as I sat waiting for the U-Bahn to arrive. One second I was enjoying my book; the next, a man was...

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What Makes Laws Law

What Makes Laws Law

Moses and the Tablets of the Law, Claude Vignon by Walter Kendall III Legality, by Scott Shapiro, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 472 pp Scott Shapiro’s new book Legality has re-ignited many of the jurisprudential debates initially kindled by H. L. A. Hart’s The Concept of Law in 1961. For instance,...

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Magdalena Slyk: Congrats Tomas!

Magdalena Slyk: Congrats Tomas!

Tomas Tranströmer by Magdalena Slyk After I had been studying Swedish for three years, and had begun to read an increasing amount of Swedish literature, I encountered the poetry of Tomas Tranströmer. At first, I found that it was not easy to read and understand all the different images...

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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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