Berfrois

Moby Dick is a wonderful target for critics who like to identify the books that Melville plundered…

Moby Dick is a wonderful target for critics who like to identify the books that Melville plundered…

Who Herman Melville was and what he actually thought about anything are altogether unsatisfying questions that have never been answered in a satisfying way.

Read More

Imperial Citizens

Imperial Citizens

The last (1944) batch of the Indian Civil Service in Dehra Dun, Ghulam Nabi Kazi by Claude Markovits Becoming Imperial Citizens: Indians in the Late-Victorian Empire, by Sukanya Banerjee, Durham: Duke University Press, 272 pp. Nationalist teleologies often result in the erasure of significant moments and movements, because the latter...

Read More

‘Readers find it easy to carry Borges in their heads. It has proved rather difficult, however, to carry his work in a reasonable number of books’

‘Readers find it easy to carry Borges in their heads. It has proved rather difficult, however, to carry his work in a reasonable number of books’

  Cover Art for The Library of Babel, Erik Desmazières, 2000 From The Times Literary Supplement: Jorge Luis Borges was an eminently portable writer. He favoured various forms, but everything he produced was brief. He once claimed that his reluctance to publish novels was due to laziness, and that his...

Read More

That Great Beat

That Great Beat

Original art by Whitney Garner by Anne Boyer I spend a lot of time at a pharmacy which is also a bookstore and at which a prominent scholar tells me a global ethnomusicologist to whom I have for a long time only been very scarcely connected via the Internet...

Read More

Thunder, sunlight, sweet dew, whirlwind

Thunder, sunlight, sweet dew, whirlwind

The Greatest Japanese Writer You’ve Never Heard of | by Damion Searls,

The Quarterly Conversation

Tun-huang has been an important city for millennia, on the Chinese end of the silk road, and the nearby Mogao Grottoes or Thousand Buddha Caves...

Read More

‘After all, everyone wants to go on living – or so Hobbes wanted to believe’

‘After all, everyone wants to go on living – or so Hobbes wanted to believe’

Suicide Bomber, Adam Neate, 2007 From Literary Review: In Leviathan Hobbes writes of ‘the privilege of absurdity; to which no living creature is subject, but man only’. Nothing could be more absurd, according to Hobbes’s way of thinking, than killing oneself – except perhaps killing oneself in order to kill...

Read More

When Book Reviews Kill

When Book Reviews Kill

David Graham Philips From The New York Times: It’s easy to imagine how a novelist might use a real person as a basis for a fictional character. It’s equally easy to imagine how such a person could notice the similarities and perhaps become offended. After all, the fiction writer...

Read More

The desirable difficulty of sleeve and paint

The desirable difficulty of sleeve and paint

The Jewish Bride, Rembrandt, c. 1667 by Emma Darwin Oh, how I do love a thoroughly counter-intuitive discovery! Apparently, the plainer and cleaner the typeface, the less a reader will learn and remember of the detail of the text. A typeface which slows the reader means they learn and...

Read More

Wanted: Bad Women

Wanted: Bad Women

Bonnie Parker, circa 1933 by  Kathleen Cairns Wanted Women: An American Obsession in the Reign of J. Edgar Hoover, by Mary Elizabeth Strunk, Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 304 pp. Female “outlaws” have been a staple of American popular culture at least since the 1830s, when New York Herald publisher...

Read More

Derek Beaulieu: A Future for the Novel

Derek Beaulieu: A Future for the Novel

A Christmas Carol, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1938 by Derek Beaulieu It seems hardly reasonable at first glance to suppose that an entirely new literature might one day—now, for instance—be possible. The many attempts made these last thirty years to drag literature out of its ruts have resulted at best, in no...

Read More

Croatia picked the wrong witch

Croatia picked the wrong witch

Picking the Wrong Witch | Richard Byrne

The Common Review

Once upon a time there was a magical empire of letters called Central Europe. Its borders were fuzzy but recognizable....

Read More
Mario Carpo: Voice, Words, Memory

It all started with cellphones, a long time ago. No student, and few teachers, would make voice calls from class, but in the early...

Read More
Remembrance of Translations Past

Although Charles Kenneth Scott Moncrieff’s translation of À la recherche du temps perdu is considered by many journalists and writers to be the best...

Read More
Colin Dickey: Time’s Resistless Stream

By now, we are all of us more or less apocalyptic. Our calendar is itself based on the apocalyptic return of Jesus Christ, counting...

Read More
Mark Mordue: Curate. Content. Click.

Not that ‘the critic’ has ever been a greatly appreciated or understood figure. Some fat toad with a feather in his hat who thinks...

Read More
Russell Bennetts
Street Fighter: Berfrois Interviews Tariq Ali

The extreme centre is a form of government that arose out of neoliberal economics and exists today in virtually the whole of Europe, North...

Read More
John Crutchfield: Go West

Perhaps this is what finally draws me back to the Western. It is a fundamentally serious genre. It deals with serious questions, and it...

Read More
Joel Gn on Henri Lefebvre

How may we speak of that which goes off the record in an age of digital colonisation?

Read More
Volker M. Welter on Michael Graves

The designer Michael Graves, who passed away at the age of 80 on March 12th, was widely considered to be one of the founding...

Read More
Sebastian Normandin on Steven Pinker

“The great thinkers of the Age of Reason and the Enlightenment were scientists.” So begins Steven Pinker’s recent controversial essay on scientism and its...

Read More
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,...

Read More
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...

Read More
Bobbi Lurie
Bobbi Lurie: Organic Fortune

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

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More