Berfrois

October 2012

Quoth the Raven

Quoth the Raven

Charles Dickens, in a note now lying before me, alluding to an examination I once made of the mechanism of "Barnaby Rudge," says- "By the way, are you aware that Godwin wrote his 'Caleb Williams' backwards? He first involved his hero in a web of difficulties, forming the second...

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‘No living thing had trodden that ground for many centuries…’

‘No living thing had trodden that ground for many centuries…’

H. P. Lovecraft by H. P. Lovecraft Before quitting the subject of Loveman and horror stories, I must relate the frightful dream I had the night after I received S.L.’s latest letter. We have lately been discussing weird tales at length, and he has recommended several hair-raising books to...

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Das Ding, the Face

Das Ding, the Face

Harpo Marx by Paul Elliott There is an intriguing but seemingly insignificant aside in Jacques Lacan’s Seminar VII: The Ethics of Psychoanalysis concerning the face of one of American cinema’s iconic figures: It is enough to evoke a face which is familiar to every one of you, that terrible dumb brother...

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The Landlord’s Game

The Landlord’s Game

The players at Table 25 fought first over the choice of pawns. Doug Herold, a forty-four-year-old real estate appraiser, settled on the car. The player across from him, a shark-eyed IT recruiter named Billy, opted for the ship and took a pull from a can of Coors. The shoe...

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What Prime Minister Gillard Said by Deborah Cameron

What Prime Minister Gillard Said by Deborah Cameron

Julia Gillard by Deborah Cameron The Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard did not mince her words earlier this month when she said of the opposition leader Tony Abbott: “if he wants to know what misogyny looks like in modern Australia, he doesn’t need a motion in the House of...

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Army Nation

Army Nation

by Vron Ware UK schoolchildren could soon be trained in army ‘values’, the London Olympics took place under military occupation, the armed forces are set for further integration with the police. As Britain’s foreign policy shifts, the meaning of militarisation within our own borders is undergoing a quiet revolution....

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Emily S. Lee on Maurice Merleau-Ponty

Emily S. Lee on Maurice Merleau-Ponty

Maurice Merleau-Ponty by Emily S. Lee Maurice Merleau-Ponty did not write much on race; he only mentioned it once, as far as I know, in his article, “The Child’s Relation with Others”. In these post-colonial times, it is recognized that one of the tools of colonialism is its epistemic...

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O, Dylan Rocks!

O, Dylan Rocks!

Perhaps no star’s luminosity glows murkier than Dylan’s in his interviews. Louis Menand, in “Bob on Bob: Dylan Talks” (New Yorker, 4 Sep 2006), a review of Jonathan Cott’s Bob Dylan: The Essential Interviews, comments on the absurdity of taking any Dylan interview as a gospel light.

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For Scholarship and Virtue

For Scholarship and Virtue

The Yellow Flowers, Vincent Van Gogh, 1887 by Rick Honings and Arnold Lubbers In the small town of Steenbergen, situated in the Dutch province of North Brabant, near the Belgian border, a book club was set up in 1797, with Voor Wetenschap en Deugd (For Scholarship and Virtue) as...

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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Obedient Heidegger

Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Obedient Heidegger

Martin Heidegger by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei The following text  was delivered at the opening of Cross-Examinations #2: How Much Fascism?, curated by WHW in collaboration with Mihnea Mircan, Extra City, Antwerp BE, October 5, 2012. I would like to begin with a definition from Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe’s book...

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{raven, writing desk}

{raven, writing desk}

One modern incarnation of the debate between nominalism and realism is to be found in philosophical arguments about sets. There are two ways of characterizing a set: intensionally, through description (e.g. the set of all inhabitants of London, to use an example of Russell's), and extensionally, which is just...

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Masha Tupitsyn: Madonna

Masha Tupitsyn: Madonna

by Masha Tupitsyn I cannot lie. I love 80s Madonna, mainly because that period of her music scores my childhood. It’s the only Madonna I like. When I was a little girl I acted and looked like a little boy. It was the first way I knew how to...

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Boca Raton

Boca Raton

by Elvin Lim Mitt Romney barely passed the bar on Monday night’s debate. He was tentative and guarded, not just because he was being strategic, but because he wasn’t, understandably, in command of the facts of foreign policy as a sitting president would be. Barack Obama “won” the debate,...

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Truth’s Minimalism

Truth’s Minimalism

It is not uncommon that a discussion about some controversy turns to the truth or falsity of some claim, and thereupon one of the parties to the discussion questions the very nature of truth itself.

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Giorgio Fontana: Berlusconism

Giorgio Fontana: Berlusconism

"Sorry for being a bore," is how Silvio Berlusconi commented at the end of his dull speech at his party's congress in Milan, some months ago. A bore: a trick or a sincere acknowledgment? Whatever it is, it's true: Berlusconi doesn't make the news like he used to do.

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Are you immune to received images?

Are you immune to received images?

Malcolm McDowell as Alex in A Clockwork Orange, Warner Bros., 1971 From Monthly Review: It was a half century ago, in 1963, that I first entered the world of commercial advertising. Only then did I personally grasp the nature and power of moving-image media. I realized it’s possible to...

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Wissenschaft

Wissenschaft

I've appreciated Aleksandr Sokurov since the 1990s, but it was, I think, with his 2003 Father and Son that he first began to seem genuinely puzzling to me. This film, not at all Turgenevian, portrayed two men apparently of the same age, posing in various intimate positions with one...

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Hempstead

Hempstead

by Elvin Lim The second presidential debate tells us about the candidates’ readings of their own campaigns. Both Romney and Obama were fighting for air time, trying to break out of the impasse of “he-said-she-said.” Women were mentioned about 30 times in the debate, because Romney knew that he...

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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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