Berfrois

Judie Newman on Harriet Beecher Stowe

Judie Newman on Harriet Beecher Stowe

“So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war!” Abraham Lincoln’s apocryphal greeting to Harriet Beecher Stowe in 1862 has become known in literary history, after the colossal impact of Uncle Tom’s Cabin...

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‘Beethoven’s music was more exciting when he was for Napoleon, rather than against him’

‘Beethoven’s music was more exciting when he was for Napoleon, rather than against him’

Beethoven was regarded as enough of a friend to the imperial family that, in 1808, Napoleon’s brother, Jerome Bonaparte, then king of Westphalia...

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Classified: Bears

Classified: Bears

As any good high school student should know, the beaks of Galápagos “finches” (in fact the islands’ mockingbirds) helped Darwin to develop his ideas about evolution.

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Sean Cashbaugh: Left Nostalgia

Sean Cashbaugh: Left Nostalgia

Marxists in the United States and Europe often claim it is easier for people to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism.

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Revolution, the Lightning

Revolution, the Lightning

It is often observed that the French Revolution was a revolution of scientists. Nourished by airy abstractions and heartfelt cries to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, its leaders sought a society grounded, not in God or tradition.

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‘The Russian Revolution reshaped global time and space’

‘The Russian Revolution reshaped global time and space’

Over the past one hundred years, some 20,000 books on the Russian Revolution have been published, roughly six thousand of them in English.

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‘Many interests united literary supporters of Vichy’

‘Many interests united literary supporters of Vichy’

What are the responsibilities of scholars and artists in a time of political crisis and militant nationalism? This dilemma confronts us today, just as it did French writers during the Second World War. 

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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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The History of 16th-Century Narcoleptic Walruses

The History of 16th-Century Narcoleptic Walruses

Magnus wanted to present the North as an impenetrable region of wonders and marvels — flesh-eating Scricfinns, magicians, vast whirlpools, and flaming volcanoes — at the very edge of the known world.

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Why was virtually no one prosecuted for causing the 2008 financial crisis?

Why was virtually no one prosecuted for causing the 2008 financial crisis?

After decades in which Wall Street masters of the universe were lionized in the media and popular culture, star investment bankers — rich, usually white men in nice suits — just don’t match the popular image of criminals.

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Thomas Hardy was both drawn to city life and repelled by it…

Thomas Hardy was both drawn to city life and repelled by it…

Ford makes the convincing claim that London turned Hardy into ‘a modern type’ (a tag the novelist bestowed on Clym Yeobright in The Return of the Native); in city life

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Ed Simon on More’s Map

Ed Simon on More’s Map

The sixteenth-century humanist polymath and martyr Thomas More’s neologism “Utopia” literally translates to “No Place,” and yet the author had a detailed and concrete conception of the invented kingdom which bore that name.

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The Metaphysics of Handiwork; or, How Aristotle Conquered America

The Metaphysics of Handiwork; or, How Aristotle Conquered America

The debate between Juan Gines de Sepúlveda and Bartolomé de Las Casas held in Valladolid, Spain in 1550 was the culmination of some forty years of agonizing policy discussions over the rights of Spain to the New World.

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Ed Simon on American Jezebels

Ed Simon on American Jezebels

In 1637, Mary Dyer of Boston gave a monstrous birth and its midwife was Anne Hutchinson. Both were Puritans of-a-kind: Hutchinson the notorious advocate of the so-called “covenant of free grace,” she of the antinomian controversy.

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Success proved to be Gogol’s undoing…

Success proved to be Gogol’s undoing…

Literature shaped the political culture of the Russia in which Vladimir Ilyich Lenin grew up. Explicitly political texts were difficult to publish under the tsarist regime.

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Hunter Marston: The Long Shadow of Secret Warfare

Hunter Marston: The Long Shadow of Secret Warfare

Kurlantzick tells the story of the secret war in Laos through the stories of four individuals who shaped the conflict on the ground.

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