Berfrois

Gertrude Stein on writing and painting and all that

Gertrude Stein on writing and painting and all that

There is singularly nothing that makes a difference a difference in beginning and in the middle and in ending except that each generation has something different at which they are all looking.

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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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Gertrude Stein’s Pétainism

Gertrude Stein’s Pétainism

From Life magazine, 1945 From Humanities: Why were so many prominent modernist writers and philosophers attracted to fascist or authoritarian regimes in the first half of the twentieth century? A list of those who were not—Samuel Beckett, James Joyce, Thomas Mann, and Robert Musil—pales in comparison to a list...

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David Winters: Outside the Oulipo

David Winters: Outside the Oulipo

For over fifty years now, the (mostly) French phenomenon known as the Oulipo (short for Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle, or ‘Workshop for Potential Literature’) has been baffling and enthralling readers everywhere with its array of opaque literary techniques. Founded in 1960 as a subcommittee of the even more enigmatic...

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Not Flowers

Not Flowers

Marianne Moore throwing a pitch, 1968 From Poetry: She has no heirs. She has several epigones but their detail-laden lacquered ships for me don’t float. She flares singular, exemplary, a diamond absolute the American East forged in a pressure chamber we have yet fully to excavate. It is said...

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Might not the psyche of writer and reader mesh powerfully in quarrel?

Might not the psyche of writer and reader mesh powerfully in quarrel?

From The New York Review of Books: Like Hardy, Lawrence’s writing is extremely sensitive to issues of fear and courage. In Sons and Lovers the moral veto that Miriam places on sex before marriage is “unmasked” by her boyfriend Paul as merely fear finding an alibi in moral convention....

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BoB

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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