Berfrois

Lilith: On Love, Living and Meritocracy

Lilith: On Love, Living and Meritocracy

My father once said, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” It is taken from Love Story, a 1970 movie based on the novel of the same name...

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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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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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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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Scherezade Siobhan: Tabeer

Scherezade Siobhan: Tabeer

I navigate an illness that makes me a protagonist of clichés. Sometimes, the thought of release is a dream of falling through clouds. My friend excitedly speaks about watching the northern lights from the cockpit of a plane — the whole kaleidoscopic spectacle, every inch of that cursive diffusion.

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Cody Stephens on Amit Majmudar

Cody Stephens on Amit Majmudar

The cover image of Amit Majmudar’s Dothead depicts Shiva in a yogic pose, his third eye obscured by a red laser sight—a projected, menacing bindi. Was it too much to expect a book primarily about race and ethnicity?

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Setsuko Adachi: Humanism, Deteriorating

Setsuko Adachi: Humanism, Deteriorating

The bullet train southbound from the capital on a weekend was very crowded. The train conductor apologized: Due to a three-day weekend coming up, the train is very crowded, we apologize for your inconvenience.

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Split Hair

Split Hair

“Only three years had passed,” Lewish Warsh writes of publishing the journal Angel Hair, “but it felt like many lifetimes.”

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Not many made their living from academia, let alone literature…

Not many made their living from academia, let alone literature…

I find myself drawn, again and again, to the capsule biographies in the two volumes of American Poetry: The Nineteenth Century. The poets of the nineteenth century were not only poets; not many made their living from academia, let alone literature. They were rich and poor.

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How did her dead ladies stay alive?

How did her dead ladies stay alive?

Any number of recent memoirs—most, but not all, by women—face down the question James posed in his essay “Is Life Worth Living?” Should we go on living, and if so, what will our lives look like? If terrible things have happened to us, is healing possible?

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