Berfrois

March 2011

Diary of a Little Man

Diary of a Little Man

  Bezirk Tempelhof-Schöneberg, Berlin by Peter Fritzsche When I first found the sprawling diary in a Berlin archive, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it.  It was full of insight, but littered with self-pity.  Political reportage on the terrible drama of twentieth-century German history often yielded to inflexible...

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Dharamsala’s Democratic Dalai Lama

Dharamsala’s Democratic Dalai Lama

McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala From The New York Review of Books: It’s been startling to witness mass demonstrations in countries across the Middle East for freedom from autocracy, while, in the Tibetan community, a die-hard champion of “people power” tries to dethrone himself and his people keep asking him to...

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Madness

Madness

The Palestra, University of Pennsylvania’s arena in Philadelphia From Projo: For my pilgrimage to West Philly, I needed a spiritual guide, so I turned to John Edgar Wideman, the distinguished novelist and Brown University professor who played brilliant basketball for Penn from 1959 to 1963. But Wideman’s recollections proved...

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Helen Thomas talks Israel and Palestine

Helen Thomas talks Israel and Palestine

From Playboy: PLAYBOY: So is this how you pictured retirement? THOMAS: I’m not retired! I was fired. In fact, I’ll die with my boots on. I’m still writing and I’ll continue to write and ask hard questions. I will never bow out of journalism. PLAYBOY: Take us back to...

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Fight of the Century

Fight of the Century

From Reader’s Almanac: It seems like only a heartbeat ago that Frank Sinatra was ringside at Madison Square Garden, camera in hand, straining to get just the right shot of Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier as they went to war for the first time. The calendar tells us, however,...

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Excess Cinema

Excess Cinema

Justin Reed by Michael B. Mathias Aristotle commended the poets for their ability to portray the ways in which fate tests character and to display how human weaknesses may be amplified in unusual situations. By depicting human beings caught up in extraordinary circumstances, the poets did not simply entertain; they...

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Rebecca Suter on Murakami

Rebecca Suter on Murakami

Norwegian Wood, ToHo, 2011 by Rebecca Suter Murakami Haruki is perhaps the best known and most widely translated Japanese author of his generation. His latest novel, three-volume, 1600-page 1Q84, was an instant success: the first print sold out on the day it was released, and the first two volumes...

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When everyone works, it’s hard to find extras for a strike scene…

When everyone works, it’s hard to find extras for a strike scene…

Monica Vitti as Guiliana in Red Desert, Rizzoli, 1964 From Words Without Borders: Ravenna, October 15, 1963 Finally, after a year’s delay, we are in Ravenna. Just a week left before the first take. The Red Desert will be born after a long and difficult gestation. Those of us here with...

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300 (Years of Hume)

300 (Years of Hume)

David Hume at 300 | by Howard Darmstadter

Philosophy Now

Like most philosophers of his time, Hume conceived of thought as a flow of mental images. Seeing a tree, imagining a tree, or remembering a tree, were all thought to consist of...

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En Liang Khong: Full Bloom

The cross-dressing Qiu Jin was emblematic of a revolutionary feminist current at the end of the Qing era, writing urgently on women’s emancipation: “While...

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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei
Very Much Like a Whale by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei

They had obviously taken the pictures of the whale, and the group of people carrying it, out of curiosity. But still the images failed...

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Oscillation

We recognise oscillation to be the natural order of the world.

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Menachem Feuer: Body

While Sarah Silverman jokingly tells us that her Jewish identity has more to do with her body than with the “responsibilities and limitations” that...

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Jeremy Fernando: Pink

An offering that might well remain in its being offered.

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Rosie Clarke Chats to Amelia Gray

I get the impulse to look to the canon, but I think we should try and challenge and squash the canon, too.

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Mario Carpo: Voice, Words, Memory

It all started with cellphones, a long time ago. No student, and few teachers, would make voice calls from class, but in the early...

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Remembrance of Translations Past

Although Charles Kenneth Scott Moncrieff’s translation of À la recherche du temps perdu is considered by many journalists and writers to be the best...

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Colin Dickey: Time’s Resistless Stream

By now, we are all of us more or less apocalyptic. Our calendar is itself based on the apocalyptic return of Jesus Christ, counting...

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Mark Mordue: Curate. Content. Click.

Not that ‘the critic’ has ever been a greatly appreciated or understood figure. Some fat toad with a feather in his hat who thinks...

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Russell Bennetts
Street Fighter: Berfrois Interviews Tariq Ali

The extreme centre is a form of government that arose out of neoliberal economics and exists today in virtually the whole of Europe, North...

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John Crutchfield: Go West

Perhaps this is what finally draws me back to the Western. It is a fundamentally serious genre. It deals with serious questions, and it...

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Joel Gn on Henri Lefebvre

How may we speak of that which goes off the record in an age of digital colonisation?

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Volker M. Welter on Michael Graves

The designer Michael Graves, who passed away at the age of 80 on March 12th, was widely considered to be one of the founding...

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