Berfrois

Nicholas Rombes: One Perfect Sentence #4

Nicholas Rombes: One Perfect Sentence #4

I first read Under Western Eyes as a graduate student in English at Penn State University in a terrible seminar called simply “Woolf and Conrad”...

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The Rime of the 450 Year Old Bard

The Rime of the 450 Year Old Bard

"Hamlet" was the play, or rather Hamlet himself was the character, in the intuition and exposition of which I first made my turn for philosophical criticism, and especially for insight into the genius of Shakspere, noticed.

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Virginia Woolf on George Eliot

Virginia Woolf on George Eliot

To read George Eliot attentively is to become aware how little one knows about her. It is also to become aware of the credulity, not very creditable to one's insight, with which, half consciously and partly maliciously, one had accepted the late Victorian version of a deluded woman who...

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Remembrance of Translations Past

Remembrance of Translations Past

Although Charles Kenneth Scott Moncrieff’s translation of À la recherche du temps perdu is considered by many journalists and writers to be the best translation of any foreign work into the English language, his choice of Remembrance of Things Past as the general title alarmed the seriously ill Proust...

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A Gosse in Woolf’s Clothing by Andre Gerard

A Gosse in Woolf’s Clothing by Andre Gerard

On May 31, two weeks after his death, and the day before Orlando was sent to the printer, Woolf noted his death as follows: “Gosse is dead, & I am half reconciled to him by their saying in the papers that he chose to risk a dangerous operation rather...

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Carolyn Guertin’s Cyberfeminism

Carolyn Guertin’s Cyberfeminism

Androla in Labyrinth, Shusei Nagaoka, 1984. Image via by Carolyn Guertin For many the term postfeminist might call to mind the vanilla pleasures of metrosexuality, webcams, online soaps, and blog culture, but, for me, a 40-something cyberfeminist scholar, curator and some time activist, the politically-minded feminist texts I work...

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Real World

Real World

“Utopiæ insulæ tabula.” Woodcut map, From Utopia, by Thomas More, 1518 by Jenny C. Mann Is there anything more tedious than the facile distinction between university study and the “real world”? (The only thing that annoys me more is being called “Miss” by teenage restaurant workers — as if...

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The Uncanny and the Abcanny by Alexander Stachniak

The Uncanny and the Abcanny by Alexander Stachniak

What happens when I introduce a ghost or monster into my fiction? What options open up to me? Is there an established convention? Am I bound to it? The majority of literary theory regarding the Uncanny and the Abcanny is near useless in answering any of these questions. Concerned...

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Amy Lowell’s Loves

Amy Lowell’s Loves

From Humanities: Lawrence’s letters to Lowell have been published and, among other things, they reveal that Lawrence thought Lowell was at her creative best when she was drawing on her own American identity, rather than on historical epics and French, Japanese, and Chinese poetry. I think he failed to...

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Party On, Will

Party On, Will

by William Flesch Here’s a song by John Ashbery, or maybe a poem about song, or both, entitled “Song”: The song tells us of our old way of living, Of life in former times. Fragrance of florals, How things merely ended when they ended, Of beginning again into a...

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Rolls, Albert on Pynchon, Thomas

Rolls, Albert on Pynchon, Thomas

Consider, for example, the Pynchon anecdotes told by the television producer Deane Rink—who attended Cornell a few years after Pynchon and studied creative writing under Walter Slatoff, with whom Pynchon had also studied. Rink tells his stories as part of an early Web exercise in which he sent emails...

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Jenny Diski on night and more

Jenny Diski on night and more

On the subject of death I’m inclined to turn to my two favourite writers. Vladimir Nabokov begins Speak Memory, an autobiography of sorts, with the kind of banality any reader of his knows better than to get cosy with: ‘The cradle rocks above an abyss and common sense tells...

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Gorky on Chekhov

Gorky on Chekhov

Portrait of Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, Osip Braz, 1898 by Maxim Gorky Once he invited me to the village Kout-chouk-Koy where he had a tiny strip of land and a white, two-storied house. There, while showing me his “estate,” he began to speak with animation: “If I had plenty of...

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‘The world is turning into text’

‘The world is turning into text’

by Gregory Jusdanis Who me, listen to audio books? That was my attitude until recently, a prejudice of my profession that literature is better read than heard. But on a solo road trip this summer I took along the ten-disk set of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn...

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Theodore Ziolkowski: Conspiracy!

Theodore Ziolkowski: Conspiracy!

Various explanations have been offered for the obsession with conspiracy. C. G. Jung theorized that our sense of individuality is enhanced by the possession of a secret which the individual is pledged to guard, and that the earliest evidences of social structure reveal the craving for secret organizations. If...

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Jenny Diski and the Vast Leaning Book Towers

Jenny Diski and the Vast Leaning Book Towers

The Poet, who made Chairman Mao’s red-braised pork for supper last night, so I am not entitled to complain about anything, has a dark side. Before he was an academic he was a book dealer. He gave up book dealing but not the books. We live in a terraced...

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Virginia Woolf: Is Biography an Art?

Virginia Woolf: Is Biography an Art?

Vanitas still life with skull, books, prints and paintings by Rembrandt and Jan Lievens, with a reflection of the painter at work, Simon Luttichuijs, 1635 – 1640 by Virginia Woolf I. The art of biography, we say — but at once go on to ask, is biography an art?...

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