A Book is Born

Posted on by Frank Brinkley

Surely the closest a man can come to experiencing the pains of parturition is to finish a novel. I had been ‘big with book’ for five or six years – the precise date and circumstances of the conception are hazy, as so often, but once started the thing grew and grew, slowly, secretively, in amniotic darkness – until last Friday morning when, groaning but glad, I impressed the last full stop and cut the cord. I wonder if for new mothers the doubts set in, as they did with me, with the sound of the baby’s first cry? For it is an unlovely little thing, smeared

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Mental Bonfire

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Long before Freud, dreams occupied a uniquely problematic position in literature. They have traditionally been seen as embodying the raw unmediated material of literary creation, the pure clay of inspiration before words – too base or too sophisticated – mould the affective charge out of it. Dreams recounted in writing demonstrate the irreducible opposition between […]

Here Be Barbarians

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

The wind was blowing, the sky was overcast, and I felt homesick on the day I first saw the Black Sea. I had arrived in Odessa that morning, after three months of travel; my companion, the only person I knew in the city, was a native Russian-speaker with Ukrainian nationality, German ancestry and a Polish […]

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