Berfrois

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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Ed Simon: Fleeting Shadows of the Dead

Ed Simon: Fleeting Shadows of the Dead

I’ve no photograph of my great-grandfather’s brother, Peter Simon, the Hungarian tailor who was imprisoned by Cossacks and sent to a Siberian prison-camp.

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On Holidays

On Holidays

There are epochs of history which their enemies call rude and which their friends call simple. My difficulty is that they seem to me not simple, but subtle.

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Seven grills, one boil and a cold lunch or two…

Seven grills, one boil and a cold lunch or two…

On January 2, 1840, Dickens wrote to his printers, Bradbury and Evans, to thank them for their annual Christmas gift of a turkey. He chose his words with care...

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A Letter From Santa Claus

A Letter From Santa Claus

My Dear Susie Clemens, I have received and read all the letters which you and your little sister have written me... I can read your and your baby sister's jagged and fantastic marks without any trouble at all...

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Jessica Sequeira: Holiday

Jessica Sequeira: Holiday

What could be more relaxing than to take a holiday? From the start I knew that the word was a bit of a lie, since it wasn’t really a vacation

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“These German Romantics and their thinly veiled asceticism!”

“These German Romantics and their thinly veiled asceticism!”

All writing is personal. How could it be otherwise? People spend what is most precious—their lives—doing it.

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The Mail Coach

The Mail Coach

The mail-coach, as the national organ for publishing these mighty events, thus diffusively influential, became itself a spiritualised and glorified object to an impassioned heart...

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What To Expect When You’re Expecting Revolution

What To Expect When You’re Expecting Revolution

Sandberg had covered for the firm as it, among other ethical offenses, employed a Republican opposition-research that used the time-honored anti-Semitic dog whistle...

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Biography as Novel: A Look at Cavafy in Love

Biography as Novel: A Look at Cavafy in Love

Constantine P. Cavafy’s sexuality (1863-1933) was a paradox. While he composed daring homoerotic verse, he wrote very little about his own erotic life.

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The Fall is into Technology

The Fall is into Technology

When I think of technology, of thinking about technology, I recall Norman O. Brown, Marshall McLuhan and John Cage. Jessica mentions none of them...

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Joseph Conrad on Books

Joseph Conrad on Books

“I have not read this author’s books, and if I have read them I have forgotten what they were about.” These words are reported as having been uttered in our midst..

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Rachel Howard: Thirty-Eight

Rachel Howard: Thirty-Eight

The other day a card arrived: a picture of mother, father, and child, teeth bared, cheeks pulsing with fresh blood. The baby looks more like him, with that nearly translucent-white skin.

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Truffling Perfumes

Truffling Perfumes

While writing my master’s thesis on DeLillo’s Underworld, I reached a strange level of intimacy with the book.

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Scott Manley Hadley: My Father, From A Distance

Scott Manley Hadley: My Father, From A Distance

My father is slowly dying of Parkinson’s disease, and has been for over ten years. I have never been close to him, and now I never will be...

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M. Munro on Fred Moten

M. Munro on Fred Moten

by M. Munro Blackness is the nonexcluded middle with a right to (refuse) philosophy. —Fred Moten All Fred Moten’s books – from his first monograph, In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition, up to and including the final volume of the trilogy consent not to be...

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Reflections of a DFW Guy

Reflections of a DFW Guy

It is not the fashion in literary assessment to admit that we might have thought differently about a book if we’d read it at another time — older or younger, maybe next week instead of last week.

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Remembering Uri Avnery

Remembering Uri Avnery

In some ways, Avnery – as the name he chose implies – is emblematic of the Zionist story. At the age of 15, as an admirer of the revisionist Zionist leader Jabotinsky...

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Tinkering with Media and Fiction

Tinkering with Media and Fiction

According to George Slusser, science fiction is "the sole literary form that examines the ways in which science penetrates, alters, and transforms the themes, forms, and worldview of fiction"...

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Ed Simon: Last Five Observations about the Moment

Ed Simon: Last Five Observations about the Moment

Panther Hollow hasn’t seen any panthers since the 19th Century. As Oakland increasingly became a cultural waystation ...

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