Berfrois

Papa’s Non-Fiction

Papa’s Non-Fiction

“Years ago, after we’d done the interview, Papa invited me down again to visit him in Cuba.” (In the fifties, George had interviewed Hemingway for the magazine on the Art of Fiction, and now he always referred to him as Papa, as Hemingway encouraged his young friends to do.)...

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‘My interest in hamburgers ebbed’

‘My interest in hamburgers ebbed’

A cow took its final steps up a curvy ramp, designed by the animal scientist Temple Grandin to ease their stress by allowing them to see a couple of body-lengths ahead but restricting their view of distractions.

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Daniel Harris: Alien Invasions

Daniel Harris: Alien Invasions

Films and novels usually portray alien invasions, not simply as instances of tribal aggression on the part of such phrenological curiosities as the Klingons in Star Trek or the Sith Lords in Star Wars, but as evacuations from dying planets.

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‘What about the starlings?’

‘What about the starlings?’

A flock of starlings in flight is called a “murmuration,” one of the most pleasing collective nouns. It’s also one of nature’s most pleasing sights, an undulating mass of thousands of black dots that coalesce into hypnotic shapes, like an airborne Rorschach test or a lava lamp.

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Tea and Buns

Tea and Buns

Maxim Gorky was thirty-two when he befriended Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy, who was seventy-two and well into his heretical-prophet phase after a prolonged spiritual crisis decades earlier.

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Graduate school in literature can ruin your ability to read for pleasure…

Graduate school in literature can ruin your ability to read for pleasure…

The hermeneutics of suspicion is built on centuries of philosophical and pedagogical ideologies that separate body and mind, then rank the mind above the body.

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Marx wondered who would educate the educator…

Marx wondered who would educate the educator…

I am not now nor have I ever been a Marxist, yet Karl Marx was one of my most important teachers.

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‘The error is to tie a religion to a specific culture’

‘The error is to tie a religion to a specific culture’

Islam is in many ways more European than a conventional notion of 'European heritage' suggests. From 1362 to 1924, the Ottoman sultan bore the title of Caliph.

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Aria Dean: #WanderingWILDING

Aria Dean: #WanderingWILDING

It’s easiest to start from the impulse to problematize the position of the flâneur. The ugly word privilege hovers around it, and we turn to questions that we know the answer to, “Who, exactly, is allowed to wander, like so?”

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When, Drunk, One

When, Drunk, One

Living in rural Vermont, I enjoy proximity to wilderness, though I observe its sickness at close range. In spring, my family marks the return of swallows and red-winged blackbirds on the barn door.

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Ed Simon: Elsewheres

Ed Simon: Elsewheres

What do you think Ishmael’s life is like after the last page of Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick? What ultimately happens to that survivor of the ill-fated Pequod? Where does he go, what does he do, how does he end his days? The “scandal of fiction” is that although these questions...

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We are bound by no need to project reassurance…

We are bound by no need to project reassurance…

I went on the international cable news channel France 24 last night, and gave interviews to both the French and English services of the network in my capacity as a founder of the After Trump movement.

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Tomoé Hill on Scarlet West

Tomoé Hill on Scarlet West

A good diarist, like the diaries they write, is always greater than the sum of their parts. That is to say, the dissection of a life day-to-day, looked at randomly, can seem uninteresting, lifeless, not worthwhile.

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