Berfrois

Alone With the Cat

Alone With the Cat

Born in 1972 (or, as the back cover of his new book of poems puts it, “during the Nixon administration”), Michael Robbins experienced, growing up, a tremendous run of good luck.

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What remained but to fly to a third corner and then a fourth?

What remained but to fly to a third corner and then a fourth?

Moths that fly by day are not properly to be called moths; they do not excite that pleasant sense of dark autumn nights and ivy-blossom which the commonest yellow-underwing asleep in the shadow of the curtain never fails to rouse in us.

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Menachem Feuer on Franz Kafka

Menachem Feuer on Franz Kafka

What is most fascinating about all this is the fact that we, Kafka’s readers also return but, like Sancho Panza, we must entertain the possibility that in following Kafka we have decided to follow a modern Don Quixote.

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Daniel Fraser on Robert MacFarlane’s Landmarks

Daniel Fraser on Robert MacFarlane’s Landmarks

In the resurgent ‘field’ of lyrical British nature writing, a prosaic form given to delight in the relationship of language and landscape, to relish and revel in the world and in words, Robert MacFarlane is one of the leading lights.

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Itō argued that stream of consciousness originated in the works of Edouard Dujardin

Itō argued that stream of consciousness originated in the works of Edouard Dujardin

by Michael Chan “James Joyce’s Method—Regarding the “Stream of Consciousness” “(Jeimuzu Joisu no metōdo “ishiki no nagare” ni tsuite) is an article published in June 1930 in the journal Shi, genjitsu by the author and literary critic Itō Sei (1905-1969), who was also one of a team of three...

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‘The mediocrity of fiction is really to do with feeling cosy’

‘The mediocrity of fiction is really to do with feeling cosy’

Diski’s writing has never left much out, and is rarely small. Nony, who narrates Like Mother (1989), is an anencephalous baby, born without a brain, who tells her mother’s story in conversation with an interlocutor who is explicitly non-existent.

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Figure to yourselves Virginia Woolf in a bedroom with a pen in her hand…

Figure to yourselves Virginia Woolf in a bedroom with a pen in her hand…

It is true I am a woman; it is true I am employed; but what professional experiences have I had? It is difficult to say.

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Building ZOOM

Building ZOOM

Comic strips can vividly illuminate a sequential story, and thus bring alive the often long, tedious, disjointed, and arcane process of architecture.

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“Lou just continues to try to woo and be wooed”

“Lou just continues to try to woo and be wooed”

It’s a drizzly summer night, and I’m meeting Tracy O’Neill in Manhattan’s East Village to talk about her debut novel, The Hopeful, the story of a figure skater who breaks her back on the cusp of Olympic competition.

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What Rhythm Holds

What Rhythm Holds

In thinking of the innovative lyric, it seems useful to look at archaic lyric, since it too was experimental in its day - maybe even wildly so.

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All memoirs are false…

All memoirs are false…

If I live much longer—I am seventy-three—every scrap of personal history I write will or should begin with the words, “If I remember correctly.”

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M.R. James on ghost stories

M.R. James on ghost stories

I am concerned with a branch of fiction; not a large branch, if you look at the rest of the tree, but one which has been astonishingly fertile in the last thirty years. The avowedly fictitious ghost story is my subject, and that being understood I can proceed.

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Byron had wanted to keep Shelley’s skull…

Byron had wanted to keep Shelley’s skull…

Francis Gastrell was very annoyed. He had bought a nice new house only to find hordes of uninvited guests tramping through his garden and helping themselves to sprigs and branches from his mulberry tree.

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A Piano of Bourbon

A Piano of Bourbon

"Don’t go down the rabbit hole,” my husband tells me, but it’s too late. It is 3 A.M. and I am still at my desk, the lamp burning hot on my notebook.

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Being in the Text

Being in the Text

I find myself here in the rather awkward position of speaking from two different perspectives, one, that of the novelist, the other, that of the critic.

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