Berfrois

Oscillation

Oscillation

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

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Zydeco Bookend

Zydeco Bookend

Beth Witherell and Jennifer Ellsworth, graduate students who worked on DARE, listen to one of the more than 1,800 audio recordings made in the field, c. 1972. Photograph from UW-Madison Archives. From Lapham’s Quarterly: The scene is a mysterious one, beguiling, thrilling, and, if you didn’t know better, perhaps...

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Late Postmodernism in Dutch Literature

Late Postmodernism in Dutch Literature

1993-1994-1995, Bianca Runge by Thomas Vaessens Abstract In this article I will show how Dutch authors reoriented themselves from the late 1980s onwards in relation to the postmodern tradition they inherited. I will discuss the critique of postmodernism formulated by Dutch writers in the light of the following hypothesis....

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Maryann Corbett on Thomas Lynch

Maryann Corbett on Thomas Lynch

A reviewer once described the writer Thomas Lynch as a cross between Garrison Keillor and William Butler Yeats. I’ll say more later about the Yeats genes in this hybrid cross. But the comparison with Keillor is apt: both men are big, bearded, jowly and affable in performance.

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By its very nature, Hebrew fiction was shaped by its surrounding literary milieus…

By its very nature, Hebrew fiction was shaped by its surrounding literary milieus…

The resurrection of Hebrew from a “dead,” liturgical language into a living tongue remains dazzling, even a half-century after its initial establishment as an official state language. Once a purely literary language of Scripture and holy songs, Hebrew is now the native language of a populace of millions, and...

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Winning Words

Winning Words

Tennyson in the London 2012 Olympic village From Literary Review: They are putting Tennyson up in the Olympic village. Last year, the final line of ‘Ulysses‘ – ‘To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield’ – prevailed in a public competition to select ‘Winning Words’, which means...

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Poetry can restore our sight…

Poetry can restore our sight…

Protesters chanting against SCAF in Tahrir Square, November 2011. Photograph by Hossam el-Hamalawy. by Yahia Lababidi It is difficult to get the news from poems, yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there. – William Carlos Williams Physical distance is difficult because of the helplessness...

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Jason Dittmer: The Philosophy of Comics

Jason Dittmer: The Philosophy of Comics

The Art of Comics bills itself as the “first-ever collection of essays published in English devoted to the philosophical questions raised by the art of comics”. This much-qualified claim is certainly true, and I have waited anxiously for its publication since I first learned it was in production. Aaron...

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Glossy Chronicles

Glossy Chronicles

From The American Scholar: The first readers to comment on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Crack-Up” essays made no pretense to literary criticism. They just wanted to dish—and diss. The dismay of old or former or soon-to-be-former friends came at Fitzgerald fast and furious, along with smack-downs from those critics who...

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Neil Besner: Where Rivers Meet

Neil Besner: Where Rivers Meet

What is a map, and which maps are memory’s or imagination’s to invoke, and then how? What lies in the incantatory power of names, or in the pull North or South, West or East? What is time, what is memory, and what’s imagined about these plain facts here, or...

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Sphere Within Sphere

Sphere Within Sphere

Anita Desai by James Warner In The Artist of Disappearance, Anita Desai meditates on the private and fragile nature of the creative act. Her nostalgic visions of India are also parables of the self’s search for authenticity. Anita Desai’s work has often shown us the remnants of a glorious...

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The Cult of Chuck by Daniel Roberts

The Cult of Chuck by Daniel Roberts

A smart friend, who nonetheless doesn’t often find time to read for pleasure, asked me recently if I had read any Chuck Palahniuk before. I sure have. And for whatever reason, the question of where to get started with this specific author is one that I’ve been asked quite...

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Together, a new world…

Together, a new world…

I wrote recently that Borges's fiction is often structured around scenes whose drama derives from the structural logic of the cinema. And some time ago, in a reading of a number of stories from Historia universal de la infamia and Ficciones I suggested that their guiding logic was often...

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Pynchonite Generosity by Martin Eve

Pynchonite Generosity by Martin Eve

The Cambridge Companion series has become, in academic literary circles, the equivalent to the Hollywood walk of fame; it comes with connotations of canonization, recognition and acceptance. It would seem somewhat surprising, then, to see Thomas Pynchon, the most notoriously elusive author of the twentieth century, a figure who...

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Daniel Roberts: DFW at Brown

Daniel Roberts: DFW at Brown

David Foster Wallace by Daniel Roberts There’s this thing that happens to people who read David Foster Wallace, the novelist and essayist who would have turned 50 years old today. It’s the reason his literary reputation so fervently exploded the moment he died: those who like his work don’t...

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“No, nothing bad”

“No, nothing bad”

Chorus, Jeffrey Michael Harp From The Threepenny Review: For such a heavyweight literary project, which might be expected to hedge its bets, Your Face Tomorrow gambles heavily on the narrator’s attraction for the reader. Its three volumes unfold with the searching, cherishing, recursive aimlessness of intimate talk. The style...

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Larkin Wrote Poems

Larkin Wrote Poems

Philip Larkin From Humanities: Philip Larkin started writing poems in 1938 when he was fifteen or sixteen and very nearly stopped about ten years before he died at sixty-three. His reputation, during his lifetime, was based almost entirely on three collections published at intervals of  approximately ten years: The...

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By turns Tolstoy played the aristocrat and the peasant, the literary genius and the holy fool…

By turns Tolstoy played the aristocrat and the peasant, the literary genius and the holy fool…

Tolstoy spent years on a four-volume, 700-page ABC and reading primer, a work he regarded more highly than War and Peace. (Upon its publication in 1872 it received neither good reviews nor official approval, but with its republication thirteen years later it became a bestseller.

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Oliver Farry on Michel Houellebecq

The peculiar circumstances surrounding the publication of Michel Houellebecq’s latest novel constitute a case study in how even the biggest literary news stories are,...

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McKenzie Wark
Information in Chains

“Information wants to be free, but is everywhere in chains.” The development of the forces of production took a qualitatively different turn when information...

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Bobbi Lurie
Bobbi Lurie: Organic Fortune

isis - ebola - obama hit by halal truck (where is duchamp?)

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Bharat Azad
Bharat Azad Meets Adair Turner

In a quiet office tucked away in Mayfair – over a long table so white I am hesitant to even place my fingers on...

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Andre Gerard: Light Here, Shadow There

The deeper one looks in To the Lighthouse the more one sees. The more one listens the more one hears. Homer, Shakespeare, Conrad and...

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Claudia Landolfi: Europe’s Colonial Perversion

The aftermath of a violent act or after a sharp change of political horizons is also a crisis of imagination and language. The rupture...

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Jerry Moore: Feverish Rivers

I learned that Gerardo Reichel-Dolmatoff had been a Nazi when I was in a Santa Marta supermarket. I had just stepped into the Exito...

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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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