Berfrois

August 2011

Late Imperial Russia’s “Marriage Crisis” by Barbara Alpern Engel

Late Imperial Russia’s “Marriage Crisis” by Barbara Alpern Engel

  by Barbara Alpern Engel I have always been fascinated by the personal dimensions of social and historical change, but never have been able to explore them as broadly, deeply and intimately as I am able to do in Breaking the Ties that Bound. The project began with a...

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“Sir, don’t call off the fast”

“Sir, don’t call off the fast”

Arvind Kejriwal, photograph by Joe Athialy From Caravan: Shortly after Anna Hazare broke his fast-unto-death on 9 April, a group of young people encircled a small man with a black moustache at Jantar Mantar and began shouting the famous pre-independence slogan: Inquilab Zindabad! (Long Live Revolution!). He continued walking...

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Get S¡ll¡!

Get S¡ll¡!

by Daniel Green The sheer bulk of Ron Silliman’s The Alphabet, as well as its apparently arbitrary structural principle, could initially leave the impression it deliberately defies reading. The same could be said of the larger project, the “life work” in progress and of which The Alphabet is a...

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Capturing “Le Mélinite”

Capturing “Le Mélinite”

Jane Avril at the Jardin de Paris, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1893 From The Smart Set: In May of 1894, a young anarchist named Emile Henry travelled from his small apartment in Montmartre to the fashionable boulevards near the Gare Saint-Lazare in Paris. Unemployed and angry, he entered the elegant...

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Californian Imagery

Californian Imagery

Fishing boat salvage year overflowing after collapse of salmon stock. Noyo, Fort Bragg, 2007 by Linda Ivey The Left Coast: California on the Edge, by Philip L. Fradkin, Berkeley: University of California Press, 115 pp. Of the many images of California that have captured the national imagination, few are...

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Crowded

Crowded

The Play of the Eyes reviewed by John Gray

New Statesman

Crowds fascinated Canetti, so much so that he was inclined to explain the whole of history through them. In The Play of the Eyes, the last of three volumes of...

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Richard M. Cook on Alfred Kazin

Richard M. Cook on Alfred Kazin

by Richard M. Cook I discovered Alfred Kazin’s journals in the summer of 1984. I was researching a book on American public criticism, criticism written for the reading public, or what Virginia Woolf called the “common reader,” rather than for academics. Kazin was one of the critics I wanted...

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Click HERE to vote

Click HERE to vote

Canada Reads, 2010 by Steven W. Beattie Anyone who doubts the pernicious cultural impact of American Idol need look no farther than the CBC’s books coverage. Simon Fuller’s venture into prime-time karaoke was in effect nothing more than an update of the cheesy 1980s’ TV talent show Star Search,...

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Eric Schwitzgebel: Black and, Err, White

Eric Schwitzgebel: Black and, Err, White

Green Guy, Pete Mandik, 2003.  Photograph by Rachelle Mandik by Eric Schwitzgebel Many philosophers consider the era of “modern” philosophy to begin with René Descartes’s Discourse on Method (1637) and Meditations on First Philosophy (1641). In these works, Descartes aims to ground human knowledge of the external, material world – the...

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Jeremy Fernando: Not

A response — Bartleby’s response — foregrounding the fact that it is the “I” that “prefers not to”: not that ‘I cannot’ nor ‘I...

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Owen Vince on HARK

As a poet, you are your grandmother; you are browsing the obituaries with a red pen and an address book in your hand. The...

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Jay Aquinas Thompson Interviews Eric Weisbard

Eric Weisbard wrote twenty years ago, introducing the voluminous, era-summarizing, contrarian and contradictory Spin Alternative Record Guide.

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Collective Destruction by Keith Doubt

What, then, is sociocide? Sociocide resonates with the term demodernization formulated by A. V. Tishkov to account for the consequences of the war in...

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Heather Lang on Fiona Sampson and Sarah Morgan

Poet Fiona Sampson is a former career violinist, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, overt references to music appear in her work.

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Setsuko Adachi: Azalea Exuberance Strikes

In May, in the garden of the elevated house at the bottom of the hill, four shrubs of stunning azaleas come into full blossom....

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Joe Linker
Joe Linker on Li Po

Florence showed me what she called the most famous of Chinese poems. She had made her own translation from a Chinese language newspaper clipping....

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Teresa K. Miller and Gregory Giles Discuss Luc Moullet

To begin at the end: After nearly two hours exploring facets of exploitation in the globalized food system, Luc Moullet closes Genèse d’un repas/Origins...

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Adam Staley Groves: Iowa Nasty

Now it seems the state’s radical conservatives are degrading the historic, populist-provincial mentality of Iowa; they are revising the state’s legacy within the broader...

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Animal Spirits at the Nueva Burdalesa Bakery by Jessica Sequeira

A few years ago all I had was a certain ambition and an understanding, more or less, of how things work in this world....

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Sebastian Normandin
Meaning and Pseudoscience by Sebastian Normandin

The persistence and proliferation of pseudoscientific thinking in contemporary culture demands explanation. Clearly there are some pragmatic reasons for its expanded existence, and people...

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Janice Lee For the Ghost

The memories are like stutters. Sometimes I inhale for air, and exhale a shaking chain of memories. A choking hazard. I for the ghost....

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Edi Rama’s Bunker Mentality by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei

As many former Eastern Block countries in the EU display a hardly dissimulated form of racism and religious hatred, Albania, always a little behind...

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Menachem Feuer on Sarah Silverman and Lena Dunham

Elle called Silverman’s image of her wearing a shirt with several naked Lena Dunhams a “beautiful tribute.” Dunham, the article tells us, “seemed to...

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