Berfrois

Eli S. Evans: The Writer vs. the Pandemic III

Eli S. Evans: The Writer vs. the Pandemic III

Constant specter of illness and death, increasing likelihood of unemployment, nail in the coffin of the post-World War II order.

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‘Whoever follows Alice down the rabbit hole and through the Red Queen’s labyrinthine kingdom never does it for the first time’

‘Whoever follows Alice down the rabbit hole and through the Red Queen’s labyrinthine kingdom never does it for the first time’

“Ahem!” said the Mouse, with an important air, from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll, illustrated by Charles Robinson, 1907 From Threepenny Review: It may be that Carroll’s tale has deeper roots in the human psyche than its nursery reputation might suggest. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland does not...

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Madhavi Menon: Queering the Bard

Madhavi Menon: Queering the Bard

by Madhavi Menon Surprisingly, queer theorists have rarely encountered Shakespeare. Not because they are badly-read or have blinkers on, but because of a deep belief that Shakespeare existed “before” the days of queer theory, and so it would be anachronistic to put the one in conversation with the other....

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Notes from a Literary Apprenticeship

Notes from a Literary Apprenticeship

Trading Stories | by Jhumpa Lahiri

The New Yorker

Books, and the stories they contained, were the only things I felt I was able to possess as a child. Even then, the possession was not literal; my father is...

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Amanda Sigler: Scandalous Ulysses

Amanda Sigler: Scandalous Ulysses

by Amanda Sigler On Bloomsday—June 16th—scholars from around the world gather together to celebrate the day on which James Joyce’s Ulysses takes place. Boasting a scandalous history, Joyce’s novel is famous for the controversy it caused when it was serialized in the Little Review, a New York magazine that dared...

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The Bishop-Hemingway Connection by Thomas Travisano

The Bishop-Hemingway Connection by Thomas Travisano

by Thomas Travisano The poet Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979) was once considered a comparatively isolated figure. Because she shunned labels and avoided becoming identified with well-publicized literary movements, she was once considered—as David Kalstone wrote in 1977— a “hard to ‘place.’” However, as her posthumous fame has grown and...

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Flat-Packs and Prose

Flat-Packs and Prose

Graffiti art by Banksy, near Ikea Croydon From Boston Review: Every Sunday morning I spend a few hours with the colossal edition of the New York Times and its tendency to sum up because I don’t want to see the week coming; I’d rather watch it going. One Sunday...

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Thomas Pynchon, (Relative) Feminist by Joanna Freer

Thomas Pynchon, (Relative) Feminist by Joanna Freer

From the cover of The Crying of Lot 49, Thomas Pynchon, 1964 by Joanna Freer Over the years Thomas Pynchon has gained a reputation as a writer with strong humanist principles. His representations of the suffering of the South-West African Herero under the genocidal German imperial regime are particularly notable...

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Ship Out

Ship Out

Allen Ginsberg dressed up for working at his Market Research job, Berkely, 1954, Allen Ginsberg Project by Joe Linker When did literature become an elitist game? When we started writing? Literature both reflects and influences culture, society, and the individual, but there are many things that reflect our values (what...

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Judie Newman: Bellow & Trotsky

Judie Newman: Bellow & Trotsky

by Judie Newman The later Bellow’s reputation as a neoconservative has obscured the centrality of his early enthusiasm for Trotskyism to his life and writings. The 2010 publication of a selection of his letters opens with Saul Bellow aged 17 writing to Yetta Barshevsky, a fellow high school student...

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Why Elif Batuman doesn’t read reviews

Why Elif Batuman doesn’t read reviews

by Elif Batuman Let’s say you’re writing a book.  Every day you get up and think about it and work on it and change it. Then, at some more-or-less arbitrary point (I didn’t realize before I published a book how arbitrary this point is), it’s taken away from you...

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‘Never return to the places where you’ve been happy’

‘Never return to the places where you’ve been happy’

From Granta: Never return to the places where you’ve been happy, my father always said. Ever since I started writing fiction, I’ve crafted not-always-happy stories about the country of my overwhelmingly happy childhood. It was no Utopia, of course, especially in the economic scramble after the fall of Soviet...

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New York’s Greats

New York’s Greats

The Death and Life of Great New York Novels | by Tom LeClair

Barnes and Noble Review

This year is the fiftieth anniversary of The Death and Life of Great American Cities  , Jane Jacobs's groundbreaking and ground-revealing book that still influences...

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F-Pynchon

F-Pynchon

by Martin Paul Eve The two, alternate titles proposed for my recent work are “The F Word” and “Whose Line is it Anyway?” The word in question is Foucault, as in Michel, and the “Line” is Pynchon’s, as in Mason & Dixon. The cursory glances that have been afforded...

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