Berfrois

Elias Tezapsidis: Election Cabaret

Elias Tezapsidis: Election Cabaret

On a Sunday atypical of the usual routine, a lot was felt. A typical Sunday routine consists solely of coffee and reading the newspaper front to back as if the Internet did not exist...

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Pound in Soho

Pound in Soho

When Ezra Pound arrived in London in 1909, he began arranging introductions to all the literary people he could manage. The most felicitous was to the novelist Olivia Shakespear; not only did she connect Pound with her lover, W.B. Yeats, but Pound eventually married her daughter, Dorothy.

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Feroz Rather: Half-Residency

Feroz Rather: Half-Residency

In the winter of 2012, I flew from California to Chicago to attend the annual AWP conference. It was snowing lightly when I emerged from the hotel on Michigan Avenue with Brian, an aspiring fiction writer from Los Angeles. The wind blew ceaselessly, whipping the snowflakes into the chafing...

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‘New movements in literature are those which copy the last century but one’

‘New movements in literature are those which copy the last century but one’

New movements in literature are those which copy the last century but one. If they copy the last century, they are old-fashioned; but if it is quite clear that they are much more than a hundred years old, they are entirely fresh and original.

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Joanna Walsh on Samuel Beckett

Joanna Walsh on Samuel Beckett

The first time I read More Pricks Than Kicks I was assailed by terrible cramps that rippled up and down the front of my torso until I stopped reading. It seemed appropriate. Echo’s Bones is a long short story originally intended as the ‘recessional’ to More Pricks Than Kicks,...

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Michael Munro: Prose

Michael Munro: Prose

“We may laugh at the bourgeois’s inability to parrot his master’s lesson,” concludes this compelling account of our “illustrious,” inescapable precursor, “but we may well wonder whether, just as he has been speaking prose unwittingly, he may unwittingly state a truth about it.” Indeed, what might that truth...

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Did Woolf prefer Joyce or Proust?

Did Woolf prefer Joyce or Proust?

The Sirens imploring Ulysses to stay, 1886 by James Heffernan More than twenty years ago, Suzette Henke challenged what was then the reigning view of Virginia Woolf’s response to James Joyce’s Ulysses. To judge this response by Woolf’s most damning comments on the book and its author, Henke argued,...

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Did Concrete poetry cause Brazilian electronic poetry?

Did Concrete poetry cause Brazilian electronic poetry?

If the first “wave” of Digital Humanities was said to have prompted a quantitative turn, e.g. the compilation and implementation of databases as well as the organization of information in elaborate arrays, then the much anticipated “second wave” is to be “qualitative, interpretive, experimental, emotive, generative in character”.

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How can people be both equal and dignified?

How can people be both equal and dignified?

I have been reading Geoffrey Hartman’s A Scholar’s Tale: Intellectual Journey of a Displaced Child of Europe. By “intellectual journey” Hartman means something like an autobiographical bibliography — it is full of stories surrounding his writing. I started reading it mostly for Hartman’s memories of Erich Auerbach, with whose...

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K. Thomas Kahn on Doris Lessing

K. Thomas Kahn on Doris Lessing

Doris Lessing by K. Thomas Kahn [Preface: I wrote most of this piece, just as I read the book in question, while sitting beside my dying father in a hospital room. We have no shared language. My “I” is a “you” he has never pluralized into an eventually embraceable...

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Vernon Lee: Thinking, Talking

Vernon Lee: Thinking, Talking

From De claris mulieribus, Giovanni Boccaccio, 16th Century by Vernon Lee As towards most other things of which we have but little personal experience (foreigners, or socialists, or aristocrats, as the case may be), there is a degree of vague ill-will towards what is called Thinking. It is reputed...

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Woolf on De Quincey

Woolf on De Quincey

It must often strike the reader that very little criticism worthy of being called so has been written in English of prose — our great critics have given the best of their minds to poetry. And the reason perhaps why prose so seldom calls out the higher faculties of...

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David Palumbo-Liu on Chinua Achebe

David Palumbo-Liu on Chinua Achebe

Many years ago, in an interview he did with Bill Moyers, Chinua Achebe was asked, “What would you want the West to do?” Achebe replied, “Listen, just listen.” I would like to add that there is listening, and there is listening.

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Koizumi Yakumo

Koizumi Yakumo

How could a man born on a Greek island in 1850 be a household name in Japan today? The answer lies in the story of Lafcadio Hearn, whose life was global, bi-racial, and multicultural a century before these concepts became fashionable. Without knowing it, Hearn turned himself into a...

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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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