Berfrois

November 2013

Gorky on Chekhov

Gorky on Chekhov

Portrait of Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, Osip Braz, 1898 by Maxim Gorky Once he invited me to the village Kout-chouk-Koy where he had a tiny strip of land and a white, two-storied house. There, while showing me his “estate,” he began to speak with animation: “If I had plenty of...

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Presenting Art by Patricia Emison

Presenting Art by Patricia Emison

I came to John Berger's Ways of Seeing through the back door. About a decade after the four-part series on the BBC (1972) had excited attention as a scrappy response to Kenneth Clark's staid Civilisation (1969), I read the book because the title was so often cited. I confess...

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Once cosmopolitanism becomes a force for social change, that’s when the difficulties begin…

Once cosmopolitanism becomes a force for social change, that’s when the difficulties begin…

by Justin E. H. Smith Cosmopolitanism is most closely associated with certain tendencies in Hellenistic philosophy. Diogenes the Cynic answered the question, “Where are you from?” by saying simply, “I am a kosmou polites– a citizen of the world” (DL 6.63). Many scholars have noted the broad resemblances between this Cynic...

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‘The world is turning into text’

‘The world is turning into text’

by Gregory Jusdanis Who me, listen to audio books? That was my attitude until recently, a prejudice of my profession that literature is better read than heard. But on a solo road trip this summer I took along the ten-disk set of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn...

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Joel Gn: Coded Fandom

Joel Gn: Coded Fandom

Certainly for the adherents of Anonymous, possessing the technique to re-write a web-page is similar to achieving autonomy over the ones who created it, even if this form of autonomy exposes itself to the contradiction of working with the same language or code necessary for the construction and subsequent...

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To Jenny Diski, the 1950s seem a pale dove gray…

To Jenny Diski, the 1950s seem a pale dove gray…

by Jenny Diski Family Britain by David Kynaston, Walker & Company, 776 pp. Our Times: The Age of Elizabeth II,  by A. N. Wilson, Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 482 pp. I was born in central London in 1947, a child in a very special generation. In no time at...

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Bobbi Lurie: Hashtaglingerz

Bobbi Lurie: Hashtaglingerz

Artists glorify the imagination. And all people are artists when it comes to creating a “me.” Glorification of the imagination, and the imaginary “me,” is glorification of escape routes taken to avoid The Truth. Most of our energy is put into maintaining a fictitious self, a mask. We do...

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Masha Tupitsyn’s Summer

Masha Tupitsyn’s Summer

As we walk back home, up that same country road we will lie down on minutes later, he says that my bare legs light the road because the moon isn’t full yet. Looking back, I think I interrupted him before he had the chance to fully flirt with me...

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David Beer: Simmel’s General Method

David Beer: Simmel’s General Method

Metropolis, Fritz Lang, 1927 by David Beer Form and Dialectic in Georg Simmel’s Sociology: A New Interpretation, by Henry Schermer and David Jary, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, 328pp. As well as being a somewhat interesting character, Georg Simmel is perhaps best described as an eclectic, diverse and unconventional social thinker....

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Never to have had a brilliant dream would be to live too much in the day…

Never to have had a brilliant dream would be to live too much in the day…

Study of Parisina’s head, Parisina’s Sleep, Ford Maddox Brown, 1842 by Alice Meynell There are hours claimed by Sleep, but refused to him. None the less are they his by some state within the mind, which answers rhythmically and punctually to that claim. Awake and at work, without drowsiness,...

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Out

Out

From The Chronicle Review: Any addict can give you a hundred reasons why he should quit, tell you dozens of stories that would make any other person quit. But the decision to quit and “what would make you stop” are two very different things for the addict. Here’s how...

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Akshay Pathak on Vijaydan Detha

Akshay Pathak on Vijaydan Detha

Vijaydan Detha, the fabulist, folklorist writer would have been pleased if one were to start talking about him with a chougou - a form of mostly nonsensical rhythm or rhyme he employed in most of his stories much in the oral tradition of storytelling that he found himself most...

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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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