Berfrois

riverunning running and running running…

riverunning running and running running…

Passages from Finnegans Wake, Mary Ellen Bute, 1966 From The New York Review of Books: I got my first real glimpse of that beast in the Burger Chef restaurant that used to occupy the basement of the Cathedral of Learning, at the University of Pittsburgh, in my senior year,...

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“And still playing the role”

“And still playing the role”

Superman, DC, series #1, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, 1939 From The New York Times: “Superman!” gasps Lois Lane, freshly scooped from beneath the nodding carbines of a South American firing squad. “Right!” says the boxy blue-and-red figure who holds her in his arms. “And still playing the role...

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Ulysses is fit to read and life is fit to live…

Ulysses is fit to read and life is fit to live…

Joyce had a lot of bad luck in the literary marketplace. Four publishers turned down his first book, a volume of poems called “Chamber Music.” He spent nine years getting his story collection, “Dubliners,” into print. It was rejected by eight publishers. At least thirteen printers refused to set...

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Literature Against the French

Literature Against the French

To what extent can literature be used as a source for gaining historical knowledge? This question has challenged historians and literary historians ever since the development of ‘history’ as a scholarly discipline. The answer tends to be moderately positive: literature may reveal specific information that can increase our historical...

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Pynchon and the Past by Joanna Freer

Pynchon and the Past by Joanna Freer

From Secret Behind the Door, Universal Pictures, 1948 by Joanna Freer Thomas Pynchon and the Dark Passages of History, by David Cowart, Athens and London: University of Georgia Press, 250pp. “Thomas Pynchon merits recognition as America’s greatest historical novelist”, (24) is the rather grand claim upon which David Cowart...

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A thousand copies of Vargas Llosa’s novel were burned at the academy…

A thousand copies of Vargas Llosa’s novel were burned at the academy…

Tahitian Landscape, Paul Gauguin, 1893 From The Guardian: When Vargas Llosa was awarded the 2010 Nobel prize for literature, the Swedish Academy praised his “cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual’s resistance, revolt, and defeat.” That assessment could still apply to The Dream of...

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‘Why would I be allowed to steal from myself and not from others?’

‘Why would I be allowed to steal from myself and not from others?’

Plate 37 from Jerusalem, William Blake, 1804-1820 by Jeroen Mettes Translated by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei from Jeroen Mettes. “Politieke Poëzie: Enige aantekeningen, Poëtica bij N30 (versie 2006).” In Weerstandbeleid: Nieuwe kritiek. Amsterdam: De wereldbibliotheek, 2011. Published with permission of Uitgeverij Wereldbibliotheek, Amsterdam. L’égalité veut d’autres lois. —Eugène...

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Nate Garrelts: Comics Teachers Assemble!

Nate Garrelts: Comics Teachers Assemble!

One of the reasons Will Eisner quit working on the Spirit in 1952 was so that he could continue working on PS Magazine, an instructional comic dedicated to teaching enlisted men how to perform preventative maintenance on U.S. Army equipment. While there certainly may have been other contributing factors...

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Jamie Olson on Gennady Aygi

Jamie Olson on Gennady Aygi

Even though Gennady Aygi, who passed away six years ago, began writing poetry as a student in Moscow back in the 1950s, it was only in the early 1990s that his first major book collection appeared in Russia. What accounts for the time lag? On the one hand, it...

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‘They had a vermouth…’

‘They had a vermouth…’

From London Review of Books: Good reporters go hunting for nouns. They want the odd verb too, but the main thing is the nouns, especially the proper ones, the who, what and where. The thing British schoolchildren call a ‘naming word’ was, for Hemingway, a chance to reveal what...

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Tom skates through research paper writing class while Huck suffers the fantods…

Tom skates through research paper writing class while Huck suffers the fantods…

Writing strategy textbooks often move us quickly through the rhetorical modes before introducing argument, where we are invited to pick a topic of interest, something we’re passionate about, but then are asked to write a research paper, as opposed to a personal essay, presumably to distinguish between mere opinion...

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‘It began when Wallace wrote Franzen a fan letter in the summer of 1988’

‘It began when Wallace wrote Franzen a fan letter in the summer of 1988’

Franzen has described his relationship with Wallace as one of “compare and contrast and (in a brotherly way) compete.” It began when Wallace wrote Franzen a fan letter in the summer of 1988, after reading his first novel, The Twenty-Seventh City.

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Authored by Chloe Wofford

Authored by Chloe Wofford

Toni Morrison From New York Magazine: Toni Morrison never liked that old seventies slogan “Black is beautiful.” It was superficial, simplistic, palliative—everything her blinkered detractors called Morrison’s complex novels when the 1993 Nobel Prize transformed her into a spokeswoman and a target. No better were those blinkered admirers who...

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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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