Berfrois

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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Sterile and Tuneless

Sterile and Tuneless

For all of six weeks in the spring of 1891, Claire Saint (close friend of Laura Marx) was an enthused member of the proto-Situationist International group, the Hampstead Tree-Huggers.

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People With Their Walking Sticks

People With Their Walking Sticks

Münsing (population scarcely 4,200) is among the towns that lie along the Starnberger See, a large lake where, in 1886, King Ludwig II of Bavaria was found dead, strangled, together with his doctor.

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Eric D. Lehman: The Hartford Wits and Literary History

Eric D. Lehman: The Hartford Wits and Literary History

The architects of the American literary canon have always struggled between aesthetics and the demands of historicity. The Hartford Wits are a sad example of how this tension has become lopsided in favor of aesthetic currency, practically erasing this important group from critical study.

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Nude Ladies

Nude Ladies

The word “ink” is a child of the Latin incaustum, which means “having been burned.” In the Middle Ages, people thought that ink burned its way into parchment.

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Tea and Buns

Tea and Buns

Maxim Gorky was thirty-two when he befriended Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy, who was seventy-two and well into his heretical-prophet phase after a prolonged spiritual crisis decades earlier.

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DIVORCE MILL GRINDS

DIVORCE MILL GRINDS

It was one of the Franco-American scandals of the 1920s. It brought Americans on an eastward ho to undo in Paris what had been wrought in America.

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Mussolini positioned his regime as far more amenable than republican France to America’s new hegemony…

Mussolini positioned his regime as far more amenable than republican France to America’s new hegemony…

One of the obstacles to acknowledging the amicable relationship between Wall Street and Italian fascism was the commonplace view of the interwar period as an era of economic nationalism.

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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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