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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Virginia Woolf on E. M. Forster

Virginia Woolf on E. M. Forster

There are many reasons which should prevent one from criticizing the work of contemporaries. Besides the obvious uneasiness — the fear of hurting feelings — there is too the difficulty of being just.

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Andre Gerard: Light Here, Shadow There

Andre Gerard: Light Here, Shadow There

The deeper one looks in To the Lighthouse the more one sees. The more one listens the more one hears. Homer, Shakespeare, Conrad and Forster are just some of the ancestral voices commenting on war.

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Mary Wollstonecraft on the silken wings of fancy

Mary Wollstonecraft on the silken wings of fancy

A taste for rural scenes, in the present state of society, appears to be very often an artificial sentiment, rather inspired by poetry and romances, than a real perception of the beauties of nature. But, as it is reckoned a proof of refined taste to praise the calm pleasures...

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Virginia Woolf’s Times by Andre Gerard

Virginia Woolf’s Times by Andre Gerard

After Macbeth, Heart of Darkness. After Heart of Darkness, Howards End. Only connect. Just as the Marlow name provides a connection to Heart of Darkness, the Bast name links To the Lighthouse with Howards End. Old Mrs. Bast’s name builds a powerful bridge by way of poor Leonard Bast....

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Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Metamodernism*

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Metamodernism*

Ours is a generation raised in the ‘80s and ‘90s, on a diet of The Simpsons and South Park, for whom postmodern irony and cynicism is a default setting, something ingrained in us.

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Andre Gerard: To the War

Andre Gerard: To the War

“The Horror! The Horror!” By gentle degrees, by looking at names and intertextual references to Macbeth, Heart of Darkness, Howards End and The Odyssey, I want to make To the Lighthouse new again.

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Can fiction compete with history?

Can fiction compete with history?

In the autumn of 1967, the novelists Carlos Fuentes and Mario Vargas Llosa were drinking in a London pub. The conversation paused on Edmund Wilson’s book of portraits from the American Civil War, Patriotic Gore, and then, Fuentes recalled, they had a moment of inspiration – why not...

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The Threat to Printed Books

The Threat to Printed Books

One would like to be as cheerful as this about the future of the printed book, or even the book, but the analogy with newspapers, which each year continue to record further steep declines in sales, leading to the extinction of many venerable titles, does not give us great...

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Woolf, it seems, was predisposed to find Ulysses undeserving of Eliot’s praise…

Woolf, it seems, was predisposed to find Ulysses undeserving of Eliot’s praise…

In February of 1922, just after James Joyce's Ulysses appeared, Virginia Woolf wrote to her sister Vanessa, who was then in Paris: “for Gods sake make friends with Joyce. I particularly want to know what he’s like.”

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Street Haunting in Winter

Street Haunting in Winter

No one perhaps has ever felt passionately towards a lead pencil. But there are circumstances in which it can become supremely desirable to possess one; moments when we are set upon having an object, an excuse for walking half across London between tea and dinner.

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Whenever you hear that whistle…

Whenever you hear that whistle…

I write in my rental apartment on Rue de Seine in Paris, while trying to simultaneously ignore the tolling of the church bells in my vicinity as well as the continuous barking of my next door neighbor, Georges. I have never seen him or his owners; however, given...

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Karl Whitney: Roomy

Karl Whitney: Roomy

Why do we invest writers' rooms with any significance whatsoever? They’re big or small, bright or dank, smell bad or smell good: they’re rooms like any others.

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On the Flying Time

On the Flying Time

Presentism—the notion that everything that exists is only what can and does exist right now—is countered in metaphysics by eternalism: the idea that time is not a process but a dimension, and in that dimension all reference points have equal validity, and thus all time, past, present, and future,...

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In Three Days

In Three Days

It was a deliberately outlandish thing to do, setting up a booth at the largest, noisiest book expo in the world and inviting a small group of writers to sit there, talk, type, and edit a series of answers to the question “what is the future of publishing?”

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