Berfrois

October 2017

Eric D. Lehman on John Fowles

Eric D. Lehman on John Fowles

It’s not an easy thing to watch one of your favorite authors slide into obscurity. John Fowles, once hailed as the greatest living novelist...

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Monetary reward often follows the gendering of a given position…

Monetary reward often follows the gendering of a given position…

Hollywood domesticated and sexualized their female media workers in studio publications, which seemed to double as dating sites...

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Marigloria Palma is known for her mystery…

Marigloria Palma is known for her mystery…

I didn’t grow up speaking much Spanish. My father doesn’t speak it, and in California, my mother was some 3,500 miles away from her Puerto Rican family...

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A Letter From X

A Letter From X

I write to you from the fraying edges of a dying empire. An America assailed by its own bad thoughts. We’ve given the keys of the kingdom to a bunch of hen fuckers. Even from the cold, dark, damp confines of my Appalachian bunker I catch stray signals from the rottenness.

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Viktor Shklovsky Remixed by Joel Katelnikoff

Viktor Shklovsky Remixed by Joel Katelnikoff

A man is walking alone across the ice; fog is all around him. He believes that he is walking in a straight line. Wind disperses the fog: the man sees his goal, sees his tracks.

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The Don Quixote of Bourgeois Ruin

The Don Quixote of Bourgeois Ruin

“I know of no one today who can make characters come alive the way you do,” Albert Camus wrote to Guilloux in 1946...

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Kirkus Reviews Reviewed

Kirkus Reviews Reviewed

Kirkus Reviews is a magazine, though few readers of its work have ever seen a copy. Like the Michelin guides, it’s known for verdicts spread across the publishing world, bringing good books to first attention and helping to sweep aside huge piles of dross.

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Let’s not eat a cocktail of Valium and LSD and go on a bender down Sunset Boulevard…

Let’s not eat a cocktail of Valium and LSD and go on a bender down Sunset Boulevard…

We lost the ability to deal with the outside world somewhere outside the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. Gathering our jangled wits, we made a tactical retreat to the corner of the store, sipped some chamomile tea, took some deep breaths and tried not to think about politics.

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Dying Fall

Dying Fall

There’s an inexhaustible market for stories of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. They are firmly in the weave of heroic modernism, poster-children for a generation’s promise, achievement, excess, and tragic denouement in the wake of Zelda’s diagnosed schizophrenia and Scott’s alcoholism, fragile aging, and early death.

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Ride-Sharing Frats

Ride-Sharing Frats

The personal loathsomeness of Kalanick obscures the broader trends that made his company possible...

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Postcards by Laurie Stone

Postcards by Laurie Stone

I am sitting beside a fountain off Broadway, designed like a waterfall. The sound of rushing water softens the heat. The buttery smell of pastries floats up from a nearby bakery.

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Abandon Brexit!

Abandon Brexit!

The Brexiteers have always argued that the outcome of the June 2016 referendum represented the unshakable will of the people. But that is in doubt.

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Thomas Larson on Thomas Merton

Thomas Larson on Thomas Merton

One of Merton’s reveals occurs during a visit to Cuba where the Catholic Church is predominant. There, as a novitiate, he feels so free that he writes “the first real poem I had ever written”

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What do Birds Know about Art?

What do Birds Know about Art?

I have wondered, for instance, about the function of the peacock’s flamboyant tail. Would this awkward appendage not more likely get in the way of his attempts to flee a predator?

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Cecilia Beaux’s modern Vision

Cecilia Beaux’s modern Vision

Cecilia Beaux (1855-1942) is known, if known at all, as a quiet, conservative painter — a portraitist of the wealthy and well connected in late 19th- and early 20th-century America.

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From Book to Stage Gathering Plunder

From Book to Stage Gathering Plunder

Shakespeareans are divided, it is well known, into three classes; those who prefer to read Shakespeare in the book; those who prefer to see him acted on the stage; and those who run perpetually from book to stage gathering plunder.

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Wistful Blonde’s Hair

Wistful Blonde’s Hair

The contribution of my former department to the general gaiety was to be a talk by Margaret Drabble, on the topic of young women at university in the 1960s and 1970s.

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Visions of a Happier Alternative to Zero-Sum Ethnonationalism

Visions of a Happier Alternative to Zero-Sum Ethnonationalism

Catalonia is an extremely wealthy community with many exceedingly wealthy individuals (many of them current and former Catalan government officials, and many of them suspected of or charged with corruption of fraud).

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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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