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.

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Can fiction compete with history?

Can fiction compete with history?

In the autumn of 1967, the novelists Carlos Fuentes and Mario Vargas Llosa were drinking in a London pub. The conversation paused on Edmund Wilson’s book of portraits from the American Civil War, Patriotic Gore, and then, Fuentes recalled, they had a moment of inspiration – why not...

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The Threat to Printed Books

The Threat to Printed Books

One would like to be as cheerful as this about the future of the printed book, or even the book, but the analogy with newspapers, which each year continue to record further steep declines in sales, leading to the extinction of many venerable titles, does not give us great...

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Woolf, it seems, was predisposed to find Ulysses undeserving of Eliot’s praise…

Woolf, it seems, was predisposed to find Ulysses undeserving of Eliot’s praise…

In February of 1922, just after James Joyce's Ulysses appeared, Virginia Woolf wrote to her sister Vanessa, who was then in Paris: “for Gods sake make friends with Joyce. I particularly want to know what he’s like.”

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Poetry Prize Now Open for Entries

Poetry Prize Now Open for Entries

Between now and 11:59:59 pm GMT on Sunday December 31, 2014, poets may submit to Berfrois, using its online submission manager, a single, original, poem in English which is not a translation, but may be in any mode or form, up to 300 lines.

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A Flower, Given

A Flower, Given

Title page of Pomes Penyeach by James Joyce; initial letters designed and illuminated by Lucia Joyce. Source: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. by Anthony Domestico The 1932 Obelisk Press edition of Pomes Penyeach came at a crucial juncture in James Joyce’s writing career and in the...

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Street Haunting in Winter

Street Haunting in Winter

No one perhaps has ever felt passionately towards a lead pencil. But there are circumstances in which it can become supremely desirable to possess one; moments when we are set upon having an object, an excuse for walking half across London between tea and dinner.

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Whenever you hear that whistle…

Whenever you hear that whistle…

I write in my rental apartment on Rue de Seine in Paris, while trying to simultaneously ignore the tolling of the church bells in my vicinity as well as the continuous barking of my next door neighbor, Georges. I have never seen him or his owners; however, given...

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Karl Whitney: Roomy

Karl Whitney: Roomy

Why do we invest writers' rooms with any significance whatsoever? They’re big or small, bright or dank, smell bad or smell good: they’re rooms like any others.

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Poetical Investigations

Poetical Investigations

From Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth, Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos Papadimitriou, 2009 From Poetry: I came to poetry fairly late; that is, I was probably a senior in college before I could read it with anything like enthusiasm. This was a direct result of studying Wittgenstein with James...

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On the Flying Time

On the Flying Time

Presentism—the notion that everything that exists is only what can and does exist right now—is countered in metaphysics by eternalism: the idea that time is not a process but a dimension, and in that dimension all reference points have equal validity, and thus all time, past, present, and future,...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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Joel Gn on Henri Lefebvre

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

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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...

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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...

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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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