Berfrois

Nicholas Rombes: One Perfect Sentence #9

Nicholas Rombes: One Perfect Sentence #9

Karen—hurt and vengeful and angry to see herself depicted in Sarah’s novel as a weird, flattened, stereotype of herself—has come to the reading hoping to “bump” the turntable...

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Derek Beaulieu: A Future for the Novel

Derek Beaulieu: A Future for the Novel

A Christmas Carol, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1938 by Derek Beaulieu It seems hardly reasonable at first glance to suppose that an entirely new literature might one day—now, for instance—be possible. The many attempts made these last thirty years to drag literature out of its ruts have resulted at best, in no...

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‘A sprite of the meadow, a naiad of lakes, a nymph of the woods’

‘A sprite of the meadow, a naiad of lakes, a nymph of the woods’

From Lapham’s Quarterly: In a New Hampshire apartment during the winter of 1923, this typewritten notice was fastened squarely against a closed door: NOBODY MAY COME INTO THIS ROOM IF THE DOOR IS SHUT TIGHT (IF IT IS SHUT NOT QUITE LATCHED IT IS ALL RIGHT) WITHOUT KNOCKING. THE...

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British Literature

British Literature

  by Michael Gardiner Eng Lit (English Literature), as a discipline of study and textual circulation, is not English. On the contrary, English Literature is a thoroughly British discipline – in a sense the cultural form of the British state – and its greatest period of blossoming was during...

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‘While Beach found fun in capers and antics, Monnier held the literary punks at bay’

‘While Beach found fun in capers and antics, Monnier held the literary punks at bay’

From Brick: Sylvia Beach said that she had three loves: Shakespeare and Company, James Joyce, and Adrienne Monnier. For mysterious reasons—perhaps because she wrote in French, perhaps because in the age of high modernism she preserved the habits and demeanour of the nineteenth century—Monnier was passed over for the...

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Shakespeare, neither simply English nor British

Shakespeare, neither simply English nor British

by Willy Maley and Margaret Tudeau-Clayton Minds across the globe will automatically couple Shakespeare and England as they will Coca Cola and the USA. Yet it was with Britain that Shakespeare was first joined by another writer. The prefatory poem to the consecrating, expensive edition of the first folio of...

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Learning from Modernism

Learning from Modernism

But it is true that while it could be argued that New Criticism emerged from the theory and practice of modernism, many writers who were either certified modernists or who were influenced by the innovations of modernism did not find favor with most New Critics.

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Ten Million Hopeful Scribblers

Ten Million Hopeful Scribblers

From More Intelligent Life: Somewhere in the world right now, ten million souls are hunched over their keyboards writing novels. Ten million hopeful scribblers in their holes. Good Lord, I’m one of them. The figure is an invention, but backed up by rough math. A quarter of a million...

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Gyan Prakash: Myths of the Island City

Gyan Prakash: Myths of the Island City

Photo by Stephane Le Gal  by Gyan Prakash Mumbai Fables, the latest book from historian Gyan Prakash, has been praised by Salman Rushdie as “a fascinating exploration of my favourite city, full of insider knowledge and sharp insights.” Here Prakash explains the genesis of the book and the upcoming film...

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‘Confessional literature has become a metaphorical striptease’

‘Confessional literature has become a metaphorical striptease’

Image via This Isn’t Happiness From The New Inquiry: Literature’s undeniable resemblance to gossip illuminates what is most useful about it, what causes literary works to endure. In her 1982 essay “In Praise of Gossip” in The Hudson Review, Patricia Meyer Spacks claims that gossip can function as “healing...

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Simply a Brothel

Simply a Brothel

The Kreutzer Sonata, Rene Prinet, 1901 From The Boston Review: In Leo Tolstoy’s novella The Kreutzer Sonata, the time is the 1880s; the place, a train traveling somewhere in Russia; the situation, a middle-aged man with glittering eyes is telling a stranger the true story of why he killed...

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