Berfrois

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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‘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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