Berfrois

Jessica Sequeira on Xanthi Barker

Jessica Sequeira on Xanthi Barker

The short novel or story can be so condensed it requires multiple scans, just like a poem. I read Xanthi Barker’s nouvelle three times and each time had a different response.

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One Perfect Sentence #1

One Perfect Sentence #1

Not “my mother stayed alive” but “my mother’s body.” The sentence comes near the midpoint of the novel as the narrator thinks back to the death of her parents. Her mother is in a coma where...

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Again They Are Scared

Again They Are Scared

When Chinese law professor Xu Zhangrun began publishing articles last year criticizing the government’s turn toward a harsher variety of authoritarianism...

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Lying Awake At Night

Lying Awake At Night

About once in so often you are due to lie awake at night. Why this is so I have never been able to discover...

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Clubbing

Clubbing

The Literary Club, known simply as “The Club,” was established in early 1764 after the portrait painter Joshua Reynolds became worried about his friend Samuel Johnson...

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Nadia de Vries: A Short History of Ectoplasm

Nadia de Vries: A Short History of Ectoplasm

You test the water with your elbow. You taste the milk before serving it. Is the temperature all right? Tenderness is throwing your body in the ring for someone else, is showing compassion...

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Ed Simon: Novel Prognostications

Ed Simon: Novel Prognostications

by Ed Simon He undertakes to write a Chronicle of things before they are done, which is an irregular, and a perverse way. —John Donne, from a sermon preached at Lincoln’s Inn, 1620 Between 1997 and 1998, representatives of His Majesty’s government stationed in Constantinople, Rome, Paris, and Moscow...

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Joanna C. Valente: Truth or Dare?

Joanna C. Valente: Truth or Dare?

by Joanna C. Valente The 7 train comes to a halt in the tunnel. It’s dark. No one knows where exactly in the tunnel. No one can hear anything except it’s so hot it almost feels like the humidity is cracking our bodies open, apart—is cracking the car walls open...

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Cultish Childhood

Cultish Childhood

“Where are you from?” For most people, this is a casual social question. For me, it’s an exceptionally loaded one, and demands either a lie or my glossing over facts

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The Gram

The Gram

Researchers have produced mountains of studies on the motivations and rewards that drive the social media user. The craving for attention, the narcissistic self-referencing...

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Sancho’s Relief

Sancho’s Relief

Readers will remember that in chapter 20 of Part I of Don Quixote Sancho relieves himself while in close proximity to his master...

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“Tinder sucks. The entire project of it is racist.”

“Tinder sucks. The entire project of it is racist.”

Some friends and I started a group chat to share the micro-aggressions that we experience daily. When these encounters feel too minuscule to say out loud, for fear of being disregarded or dismissed as the Black Person Who Cried Racism...

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Jessica Sequeira: Some Moonlight for Whitman

Jessica Sequeira: Some Moonlight for Whitman

Whitman, when I see you in my mind’s eye sometimes I confuse you with that other poet bard, that other guru of a nation, Tagore. But first I’d like to look a little more at your image...

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Open Galeano

Open Galeano

In at least one instance, a book by the Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano may have saved a life.

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L.E.L.’s Diadem

L.E.L.’s Diadem

Under the pen name “L.E.L.,” Letitia Elizabeth Landon had been one of the most famous literary women of her brief pre-Victorian moment, her poetry a staple of the popular literary press for well over a decade.

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Mary Wollstonecraft’s Day

Mary Wollstonecraft’s Day

Read Greek (no lesson). Call on Emilia Viviani. E. Williams calls.

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The World of Montague Tibbles House

The World of Montague Tibbles House

“Who will be interested in reading the life of an unfortunate black woman who seemed to be making a mess of her life?” This was the question Buchi Emecheta...

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Nicked

Nicked

As if there was much of anything in any human utterance, oral or written, except plagiarism!” opined Mark Twain...

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Jessica Sequeira on Fawzi Karim

Jessica Sequeira on Fawzi Karim

Not even you know what illumination you are seeking in the pubs of London, where the women lightly mock you. “To find solace in stupefaction...

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Class Dismissed

Class Dismissed

I had never seen so many tennis courts in my life. I had never heard of rugby or lacrosse. I mispronounced genre in class because I had only ever read the word.

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G.K. Chesterton: Dreams

G.K. Chesterton: Dreams

There can be comparatively little question that the place ordinarily occupied by dreams in literature is peculiarly unreal and unsatisfying. When the hero tells us that "last night he dreamed a dream"...

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