Berfrois

Ah, the insistent buzz of corporate machinery and techno-capitalist communication…

Ah, the insistent buzz of corporate machinery and techno-capitalist communication…

To pick up on the cultural dissonances around the crisis of man discourse we need to look no further than to the thoughts of two of the key figures engaged with this discourse, Hannah Arendt and Susan Sontag.

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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....

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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,...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

‘Open up MS Word a lot’

‘Open up MS Word a lot’

The Acquired Inability to Escape, Damien Hirst, 1991 From The Outlet: 1. After you move back home to work on your novel, slump into a depression. Feel like nothing really matters. Open up MS Word a lot but don’t type much. Make a video for one of the two stories...

Read More

Sexton let it slip because Aunt Bea asked around…

Sexton let it slip because Aunt Bea asked around…

As I grow engrossed in the writing, I feel the benevolent spirits of my aunts hovering close by. They were avid readers, as is my mother, their younger sister. My grandmother (the same one who crocheted the afghan) was mystified by this love of literature; when one of her...

Read More

Crazy Characters

Crazy Characters

Around 1905 or 1906, Sigmund Freud wrote an essay, unpublished in his lifetime, called “Psychopathic Characters on the Stage.” The essay addressed the question of what we, as spectators, get out of watching people go crazy. Freud’s theory was that we’re fascinated by crazy characters because they help us...

Read More