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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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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Thomas Travisano on Robert Lowell

Thomas Travisano on Robert Lowell

One suspects that just as Lowell drew out of Bishop—in her effort to engage and entertain him—a previously unforeseen willingness to indulge in literary shoptalk and to reflect on the theatre of ideas, Bishop drew out of Lowell—in his effort to engage and entertain her—a capacity for lively and...

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Dissent of One

Dissent of One

From The New York Review of Books: The economic rise of China now dominates the entire landscape of international affairs. In the eyes of political analysts and statesmen, China is seen as potentially “the world’s largest economic power by 2019.” Experts from financial institutions suggest an even earlier date...

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Thinking with Thetans

Thinking with Thetans

From London Review of Books: Empirical study led L. Ron Hubbard to the principles on which Scientology is based. He never claimed to have had a revelation. He spelled the principles out in 1950 in Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, the bestselling self-help treatise in which he...

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Back to Borges, Back to Unreality

Back to Borges, Back to Unreality

If Borges continually returned to his first book of poetry, endlessly tinkering with it and republishing it in slightly different form so that it would truly prefigure "everything that he would do afterwards" (Obras completas 33), his approach to his first book of prose was quite different.

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It’s All Kicking Off

It’s All Kicking Off

Tahrir Square, Cairo. Photography by Ramy Raoof From The Guardian: Is there much value in describing again the demonstrations, encampments and activist movements already covered, seemingly exhaustively, by the traditional and new media over the last two years? The quality of Mason’s observation and storytelling quickly dispels any such...

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Nicholas Rombes: Flowers Cover Everything

Nicholas Rombes: Flowers Cover Everything

by Nicholas Rombes 1. My life, in those days, was to be defined by three female poets: Dana Levin, Olena Kalytiak Davis, and Brigit Pegeen Kelly. Where lies the fault in that? Could I be blamed for seeing darkness in everything? Or for feeling, at some point of no...

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Ryegrass and Clover

Ryegrass and Clover

Pluies by Toby Harper Seeds of Empire: The Environmental Transformation of New Zealand, by Tom Brooking and Eric Pawson, London: I.B. Tauris, 256 pp. Visitors and residents alike tend to think of New Zealand as a clean, green land, rivaling Ireland in the luxuriance of its verdure and leading...

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The Awful Daring

The Awful Daring

T. S. Eliot in 1923. Photography by Lady Ottoline Morrell From Poetry: In the summer of 1918, T.S. Eliot was alarmed by the news that the American armed forces in Europe, then engaged in the final campaign against Germany, would begin to conscript American citizens living in England. Eliot...

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Charles LaPorte: Seeming Prey

Charles LaPorte: Seeming Prey

Victorian poetry is famous for documenting the emergence of key strains of secular modern thought, including those associated with natural science and modern biblical criticism. Breathtaking advances in astronomy, geology, and evolutionary biology during this era had produced a very different looking cosmos from that imagined in the book...

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