Berfrois

The Appearance of Goodness

The Appearance of Goodness

There are many social-media-savvy people who are choking on sanctimony and lacking in compassion, who can fluidly pontificate on Twitter about kindness but are unable to actually show kindness...

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And in Sad Cypress

And in Sad Cypress

Before my departure for a trip to celebrate my mother’s ninety-eighth birthday, friends suggested that I read Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal.

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Shakespeare’s passing was an entirely local event…

Shakespeare’s passing was an entirely local event…

It was not until seven years after his death that Shakespeare’s comedies, histories, and tragedies were gathered together by his friends John Heminges and Henry Condell in an expensive edition, dedicated to William Herbert and his brother, that first laid claim to their status as high culture.

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Simon Calder at AWP16

Simon Calder at AWP16

At this year’s L.A.-based Association of Writers and Writing Programs conference, Jeff Hoffman highlighted the naturalness with which Greenberg thus announces its central concern

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You must have made yourself alone to be able to write at all…

You must have made yourself alone to be able to write at all…

It has been said by very many people that there is a tangible pleasure in the mere act of writing: in choosing and arranging words. It has been denied by many.

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Janice Lee: Depression, Denial, Depression

Janice Lee: Depression, Denial, Depression

I want to confess here that I have often worked to put a distance between myself and the past. I want to confess, too, that I have recently and often thought about the ease with which I could escape all the misery of this world, singular gestures, without memory...

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Fox, Shagger

Fox, Shagger

From London Review of Books: Like his hero Robert Graves, Hughes tirelessly pursued the White Goddess, or the Goddess of Complete Being as he called her in his study of Shakespeare, both in his imagination and in the forms that she assumed in the women whom he met and slept...

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Gravity’s Relativism

Gravity’s Relativism

How to relate philosophical thought to literary practice? And, conversely, how to illuminate issues presented in narrative literature by having recourse to systems of philosophy? These are the two preeminent questions that Martin Paul Eve asks himself and answers impressively in his recent study Pynchon and Philosophy: Wittgenstein, Foucault...

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As dead as the rabbits and guinea-pigs with whom they once had tea?

As dead as the rabbits and guinea-pigs with whom they once had tea?

It may seem curious to begin with Dante and pass on to the Children’s Rabbits’ House; but I require both to explain what it is I mean by Limbo; no such easy matter on trying.

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Weathering Heights

Weathering Heights

“No weather will be found in this book,” Mark Twain declares in the opening pages of his 1892 novel “The American Claimant.” He has determined to do without it, he explains, on the ground that it usually just gets in the way of the story.

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Slowly Drinking

Slowly Drinking

The nights I could not sleep, I would walk. There is an idea that London never sleeps; this is not quite true. There is a tidal lull, a drowsy half-stillness in those hazy hours between its periods of madness.

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Max Ritvo Writes to Sarah Ruhl

Max Ritvo Writes to Sarah Ruhl

Dearest Max, A letter. And fair warning—this is a letter about the afterlife, so read on only if you wish to contemplate such things.

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Once a Great Sleeper

Once a Great Sleeper

The question: “Why do so many women have so many problems with sleep?” is an important question for me because I am a bad sleeper who was not always a bad sleeper, who was once a great sleeper.

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The Sea’s Salty Spray

The Sea’s Salty Spray

My first teaching job carried me straight from the RAF and England to St. John’s, Newfoundland, when I was but 27. I still find my first impressions to be the overpowering ones: of fog or knocking sea.

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Dossing Down in Doorways

Dossing Down in Doorways

Paris, Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, Nuit Blanche : Nathan Coley, 2006. Photograph by Vincent Desjardins From Dublin Review of Books: Sante’s chapter on insurgents across the centuries is detailed and evocative but ties itself, however colourfully, to a history of facts and dates and salient events. By chapter 11 even the...

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Words never make anything that is useful…

Words never make anything that is useful…

The title of this series is “Words Fail Me,” and this particular talk is called “Craftsmanship.” We must suppose, therefore, that the talker is meant to discuss the craft of words — the craftsmanship of the writer.

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Jenny Diski on the enormity of that lost word

Jenny Diski on the enormity of that lost word

For the third time this month I’ve locked myself out of my online banking facility. Each time I have run over the limit of making three mistakes in my password.

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