Berfrois

‘We all hate the poetry we learnt in school. Why?’

‘We all hate the poetry we learnt in school. Why?’

That the object of education should be to fit the child for life is such a trite and well-worn saying that people smile at its commonplaceness even while they agree with its obvious common sense.

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Jay Merill on Joanna Walsh

Jay Merill on Joanna Walsh

Hotel by Joanna Walsh, is a book in Bloomsbury’s Object Lessons series. It is essentially a memoir in the context of visits made to hotels by a reviewer who is at that time undergoing a personal marital breakdown.

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Your Version Perfect

Your Version Perfect

I never met Vladimir Nabokov face to face, though I exchanged phone calls and letters with him. My psychiatrist encouraged me to visit him in Switzerland, but I was too afraid that I would quickly sabotage close-up whatever good impression I might have managed to create long-distance.

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Black history has too often been stolen by white narrators…

Black history has too often been stolen by white narrators…

Colson Whitehead’s novels are rebellious creatures: Each one of them goes to great lengths to break free of the last one, of its structure and language, of its areas of interest.

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Cynthia Ozick advocates for no theory…

Cynthia Ozick advocates for no theory…

Unlike the literature it marshals as its subject, literary criticism frequently finds itself in the position of having to defend its existence, of taking breaks from dealing with fiction and poetry in order to deal with itself.

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Jessica Sequeira on Janice Lee

Jessica Sequeira on Janice Lee

by Jessica Sequeira The Sky Isn’t Blue by Janice Lee Civil Coping Mechanisms, 226 pp. Los Angeles is a city of sprawl and sunshine, but it can also be a very lonely place. When Maggie Nelson moved out there from New York to teach at CalArts, heartbroken, she wrote her collection of...

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Joseph Conrad on the Titanic

Joseph Conrad on the Titanic

S.S. Titanic at the docks of Southampton, April 1912. by Joseph Conrad It is with a certain bitterness that one must admit to oneself that the late S.S. Titanic had a “good press.” It is perhaps because I have no great practice of daily newspapers (I have never seen so many...

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Ah, the insistent buzz of corporate machinery and techno-capitalist communication…

Ah, the insistent buzz of corporate machinery and techno-capitalist communication…

To pick up on the cultural dissonances around the crisis of man discourse we need to look no further than to the thoughts of two of the key figures engaged with this discourse, Hannah Arendt and Susan Sontag.

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Daniel Bosch: Brogue, Seriously?

Daniel Bosch: Brogue, Seriously?

On April 6, 1327, in Avignon, in the Kingdom of Arles, an Italian scholar named Petrarch saw and fell for a young girl named Laura.

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Funds for Tuition by Setsuko Adachi

Funds for Tuition by Setsuko Adachi

A machine, a replicant, utters: I think therefore I am.

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“Classics was a minority subject, very twee”

“Classics was a minority subject, very twee”

DeWitt had her first sense of real academic or literary possibility after arriving at Smith College in 1975, and even that was a letdown.

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None of Us Can Escape

None of Us Can Escape

Published in The Dial in November of 1923, T.S. Eliot’s essay “‘Ulysses,’ Order, and Myth” is a rare opportunity to see one of modernism’s giants grappling with one of modernism’s greatest works.

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Virginia Woolf invents human intercourse

Virginia Woolf invents human intercourse

When the first number of Lysistrata appeared, I confess that I was deeply disappointed. It was so well printed, on such good paper. It looked established, prosperous.

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Oliver Farry on Patrick Modiano

Oliver Farry on Patrick Modiano

The latest of his novels to belatedly see the light of day in English is his 1975 work Villa Triste, published by the Other Press, in a translation by John Cullen. Unusually for Modiano, it takes place entirely outside his usual Parisian hinterland.

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Adrienne Rich had run-ins with literary men throughout her life…

Adrienne Rich had run-ins with literary men throughout her life…

“One rainy day in the spring of 1960, the San Francisco poet Robert Duncan arrived at my door,” Adrienne Rich wrote in her essay “A Communal Poetry.”

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Nothing, Nothing but Hell

Nothing, Nothing but Hell

The death of champion boxer Muhammad Ali is an occasion to remember one of the strangest moments in popular culture, when Ali collaborated with legendary poet Marianne Moore on a work of verse.

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