Berfrois

Navigating public space is never a neutral act…

Navigating public space is never a neutral act…

It’s never a neutral act, to navigate public space, not for anyone. I’d like to hope that Flâneuse troubles the act of walking in the city for those who would consider themselves flâneurs as well.

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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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Who Comprehends the Watchmen?

Who Comprehends the Watchmen?

by Travis White-Schwoch and David N. Rapp Reading Watchmen: A cognitive perspective In the opening sequence of Watchmen, by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (1986-1987), a disheveled man wanders the streets of New York, carrying a sign warning of the end of the world. He steps through puddles on...

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“Double Quotations”

“Double Quotations”

by Feliz Molina A word about the quotation marks. People ask about them, in the beginning; in the process of giving themselves up to reading the poem, they become comfortable with them, without necessarily thinking precisely about why they’re there. But they’re there, mostly to measure the poem. The...

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David Beer on Peter Sloterdijk

David Beer on Peter Sloterdijk

According to Peter Sloterdijk, ‘s a nobject, the vulva is the mother of granite’. Where should we start with a statement like that? Indeed, the question of where to start is likely to confront anyone who attempts to write a review of Bubbles, the 650 page cathartic and unravelling...

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Daniel Levin Becker: Little Demons of Subtlety

Daniel Levin Becker: Little Demons of Subtlety

As I write this in San Francisco, Jacques Jouet is at the Place Stalingrad in Paris, writing a serial novel in thirty-two parts. He has agreed to sit for eight hours a day inside a windowed tent at the southwestern tip of the Bassin de la Villette, typing away...

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