Berfrois

They could only party at the Germans’ behest…

They could only party at the Germans’ behest…

So unprepared had France been for defeat that resistance had had no time to organise in these early days and those who did want to act against the Nazis didn’t know how.

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‘Catholic religion and anticlericalism were passionately bound up in the battle’

‘Catholic religion and anticlericalism were passionately bound up in the battle’

In the first few months of 1936, Spanish society was highly fragmented. There was uneasiness between factions and, as was happening all over Europe with the possible exception of the United Kingdom, the rejection of liberal democracy in favour of authoritarianism was rife.

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Gerardo Muñoz on Sergio González Rodriguez

Gerardo Muñoz on Sergio González Rodriguez

One cannot but be intrigued by Sergio González Rodriguez's recent essay "Los 43 de Iguala" (Anagrama, 2015) that analytically weaves the kidnapping and massacre of the 43 male students from a rural school in Mexico's State of Guerrero with an autographical exploration.

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How Count Tolstoy Plays

How Count Tolstoy Plays

What brought Tolstoy to tennis so late in his life? Or, better, what brought him around to the game? When he was in his forties, he thought tennis was a faddish luxury, a pastime of the new rich, something imported, inauthentic—a child’s game enthused about by well-to-do grownups who...

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Throughout the 1970s, LGBT people wrote about the benefits of socialism…

Throughout the 1970s, LGBT people wrote about the benefits of socialism…

The historic achievement of marriage equality in the United States last year threw the 1969 Stonewall uprising back onto the public stage.

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Rhyme was still comfortable on its throne…

Rhyme was still comfortable on its throne…

Without anecdote, banter, originality, or charm, I am going to plunge directly into recounting the history of rhyme in modern English. This history is not well known—and, for the most part, even those who know it do not know it.

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Zweig’s Wanderlust

Zweig’s Wanderlust

By 1901, while a philosophy student at the University of Vienna (he defended a doctoral thesis on Hippolyte Taine), Zweig became a frequent contributor to Theodor Herzl’s Neue Freie Presse, the capital’s most respected newspaper.

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‘By the middle of the century a naked Phyllis was common’

‘By the middle of the century a naked Phyllis was common’

The story of Phyllis on Aristotle dates back to the 13th century in German and French versions, but is much better known from John Herold’s Latin version from the 14th century.

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Time Is

Time Is

The only known image of the dramatist, poet, pamphleteer, and initially unrepentant libertine Robert Greene is a woodcut from John Dickenson’s Greene in Conceipt, printed in 1598, five years after its subject had died an early death at the age of thirty-four.

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‘A modernism that stood for the United States’

‘A modernism that stood for the United States’

Circus Girl Resting, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, 1924 From Los Angeles Review of Books: Here is a list of some major players in Cold War Modernists, Greg Barnhisel’s fascinating and meticulously researched history of modernist art and literature’s role in Cold War diplomacy: the American Artists Professional League (AAPL); the American Federation...

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Alexander McGregor on the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands

Alexander McGregor on the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands

Japan’s emergent culture of remilitarisation may be focused on the current Senkaku question but that is not its cause.

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O Tannenbaum

O Tannenbaum

Dd it ever strike you as a strange thing to drag a living tree once a year into your home and set it up to worship? If you are old enough, you may have seen decorating fashions come and go.

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72 days in 1871

72 days in 1871

L’imaginaire de la Commune is the title of Kristin Ross’s new book in its first, French edition. It is debatable whether this laconic phrasing could have survived the passage into English with its resonances unimpaired.

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Pynchon is truly the forgotten founding father of colonial New England…

Pynchon is truly the forgotten founding father of colonial New England…

On October 16, 1650, the General Court of Boston summoned the town executioner. Like his name, the executioner’s thoughts as he made his way to the marketplace that afternoon, far from the gallows at Boston Common, remain lost to history.

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Pea soup was usually made from dried yellow split peas, not green ones…

Pea soup was usually made from dried yellow split peas, not green ones…

During the Victorian era, the worst London fogs occurred in the 1880s and ’90s, most often in November. Yet as early as 1853, in the opening pages of “Bleak House,” Charles Dickens refers to “implacable November weather”

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Alexander McGregor on Leopold II of Belgium

Alexander McGregor on Leopold II of Belgium

“The mind of man is capable of anything because everything is in it, all the past as well as the future”, wrote Conrad in Heart of Darkness. This rather begs the historical question of responsibility. Were these actions the result of Leopold’s capriciousness or will?

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Everyday events could make nuclear war seem imminent…

Everyday events could make nuclear war seem imminent…

My mother doesn’t remember Pearl Harbor. But she was there. Barely two months old, she spent the raid held tightly by her mother in an improvised bomb shelter, where the two of them had joined some Honolulu neighbors.

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Meowzart

Meowzart

The absurdity of a cat piano has no doubt contributed to its appeal across the centuries. But the license granted in the space of the imaginary points to illicit aspects of the real.

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Manik Sharma: When Battalions Come

Manik Sharma: When Battalions Come

The earliest roots of the intelligence agency, as having a bone and mortar identity, began with the establishment of the British Intelligence Bureau, in Shimla, in 1878.

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