Berfrois

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.”

Read More

Maglifting Jenny Diski’s shoplifting book review

Maglifting Jenny Diski’s shoplifting book review

In 1980, Lady Isobel Barnett was found guilty of stealing a can of tuna and a carton of cream and fined about £75. Barnett was a very public figure. For a decade or more, from the early nineteen-fifties, she had been a regular on the English version of “What’s...

Read More

The Sun Shone

The Sun Shone

Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, Pieter Brueghel the Elder, c.1558 From VQR: If my love for poetry could be said to have begun in childhood wonder, in the afternoons spent with my father, in the excitement of early school days, my need for poetry, my faith in it,...

Read More

Albert Rolls: Which (Side) Are You On, Man?

Albert Rolls: Which (Side) Are You On, Man?

James Parker begins his review of Inherent Vice with the quip, “If Thomas Pynchon were a stand-up comedian, and Inherent Vice his newest routine, the heckling would start around page 10. ‘So Doc,’ relates a character called Denis (whose name, we are informed, is commonly pronounced to rhyme with...

Read More

Clayton Eshleman: North American Poetry Today

Clayton Eshleman: North American Poetry Today

While living in Kyoto, I would ride my motorcycle downtown in the afternoon and work on my translations of César Vallejo’s Poemas humanos in the Yorunomado (“Night Window”) coffee shop. I had determined that a publishable version of this 1989 poem collection would constitute my apprenticeship to poetry. As...

Read More

Real World

Real World

“Utopiæ insulæ tabula.” Woodcut map, From Utopia, by Thomas More, 1518 by Jenny C. Mann Is there anything more tedious than the facile distinction between university study and the “real world”? (The only thing that annoys me more is being called “Miss” by teenage restaurant workers — as if...

Read More

Rumpled Sheet

Rumpled Sheet

Sisyphus, Anna Chromy, 2003 From The American Poetry Review: We cannot escape metaphor: there are “metaphors we live by,” according to George Lakoff and Mark Johnson. Philosophically minded modern writers from Jacques Derrida to William Gass have tried to make sure that we know how thoroughly metaphor saturates even...

Read More

Kristen Zipperer on Intizar Husain

Kristen Zipperer on Intizar Husain

There are very few Urdu writers who have written about these despondent days in Pakistan’s history, with perhaps one notable exception. Intizar Husain is a novelist and short story writer whose work takes an unrelenting look at man’s attempt and ultimate failure to keep his humanity during the post-Partition...

Read More

Someone (a lot) like Don Share

Someone (a lot) like Don Share

Huh. Well, I collect weird dictionaries, including dictionaries of cliches (which come in handy, in my line of work). But my favorite strange dictionary is the great classic Dictionary of Similes, edited by Frank Wilstach and published in 1916; it has the epigraph, "It's hard to find a simile...

Read More

The Uncanny and the Abcanny by Alexander Stachniak

The Uncanny and the Abcanny by Alexander Stachniak

What happens when I introduce a ghost or monster into my fiction? What options open up to me? Is there an established convention? Am I bound to it? The majority of literary theory regarding the Uncanny and the Abcanny is near useless in answering any of these questions. Concerned...

Read More

“Playful”

“Playful”

From Le Revenant, Méliès, 1903 by William Flesch An Honest Ghost: A Novel by Rick Whitaker A book that furnishes no quotations is no book — it is a plaything. Next to the originator of a good sentence is the first quoter of it. How frequently the mere purchase of a book...

Read More

Amy Lowell’s Loves

Amy Lowell’s Loves

From Humanities: Lawrence’s letters to Lowell have been published and, among other things, they reveal that Lawrence thought Lowell was at her creative best when she was drawing on her own American identity, rather than on historical epics and French, Japanese, and Chinese poetry. I think he failed to...

Read More

Balked No Weird

Balked No Weird

Around the same time English-language philosophers were debating whether or not you can know what it is like to be a bat (generally deciding that you can not), the Australian poet Les Murray was busy directly transcribing the thought-world of an imagined representative of this order.

Read More
Eugenia Herbert on Julia Margaret Cameron

The Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron is currently undergoing a revival with a recent exhibition of her work at the Metropolitan Museum in New...

Read More
Philippe Theophanidis on Jean-Luc Godard

At one point near the end of his unfinished novel Jean Santeuil, Marcel Proust describes a painting by Claude Monet from 1897, titled “Bras...

Read More
An Enigma Wrapped Inside an Enigma by Michael Munro

There is perhaps nothing more enigmatic in the history of philosophy than that which in the tradition is known as the active intellect (nous...

Read More
Jeremy Fernando
Jeremy Fernando on Tan Chui Mui

For, it is not as if films speak; nor are their filmmakers there—at the site where this alleged speaking to, speech, takes place —...

Read More
Jason S. Polley: Prawns

The suburbs, aka first-world neighborhoods, are present via their conspicuous near visual absence in 2009’s District 9, a film focusing on an increasingly disorderly...

Read More
Reality Principles: Berfrois Interviews Frank Smecker

I don't know if I ever wanted to become a theorist. I struggle with this position. For me, it's a hystericized — and therefore...

Read More
Jesse Miksic on Dark Souls II

Is Dark Souls II the crowning rebirth of Gothic Romance for the digital age? I'm being dramatic, I realize. The spirit of Gothic has...

Read More
Michael Munro
A Quotation and Provocation by Michael Munro

The teleology of the Universe is directed to the production of Beauty. That is the opening line of the text, its first thesis. It’s...

Read More
Menachem Feuer
Menachem Feuer: Schlemiels

As human beings we have to “court” failure. This term suggests two things: on the one hand, it suggests dating and becoming intimate with...

Read More
Bobbi Lurie
Bobbi Lurie with James Franco

Every day after that, I stood outside The Italian Restaurant on Fourteenth Street until it closed. I didn’t even smoke. The guy from The...

Read More
Henry Giardina
Henry Giardina: Furrows and Hollows

There’s an oft-quoted line out of Candide that goes, “I have wanted to kill myself a hundred times, but somehow I have never fallen...

Read More
Ashley James
Ashley James: Personhood

It seemed that by the close of January this year, the entire country could recognize the face of Sergeant Cory Remsburg: Near the tail-end...

Read More
Logan K. Young on The Replacements

I, myself, was barely six months old when Twin/Tone put out The Mats’ Let It Be. The day, they say, was Orwellian: Tuesday, October...

Read More
Tyranny Is a Growth Industry by Vladimir Savich and Zachary Bos

Tyranny is a growth industry. Each day brings exciting new developments. These events imprint themselves upon the world in the form of newspapers, magazines,...

Read More