Berfrois

‘Systematic nonconsideration of human rights’

‘Systematic nonconsideration of human rights’

From The New York Review of Books: When a scientific experiment uncovers a new phenomenon, a scientist is pleased. When an experiment fails to reveal something that the scientist originally expected, that, too, counts as a result worth analyzing. A sense of the “nonappearance of the expected” was my...

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Theodore Ziolkowski on Gilgamesh

Theodore Ziolkowski on Gilgamesh

The Slaying of the Bull of Ishtar, from Myths of Babylonia and Assyria, illustrated by Ernest Wallcousins, 1915 by Theodore Ziolkowski Any ten minute search on the internet turns up hundreds of hits for Gilgamesh in recent years. Apart from novels, plays, poems, operas, and paintings, the ancient Babylonian...

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Dear National Geographic

Dear National Geographic

by Tamar Rothenberg American Iconographic: National Geographic, Global Culture, and the Visual Imagination, by Stephanie L. Hawkins, Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 264 pp. What is iconic about National Geographic? From the ethnographic “types” displayed as such in the first half of the twentieth century, to the bare-breasted women...

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Yo Borges

Yo Borges

by Jon Beasley-Murray What does it mean to “read Borges”? What are we even endeavoring to read? “Borges” is a cipher: a proper name that stands in for a set of texts with which that name is associated. It’s a figure or speech or language, a form of metonymy:...

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SATAN, n.

SATAN, n.

 Satan’s Treasures, Jean Delville,1895 From The Smart Set: There’s a connection between the Devil and the word that goes back to the original Greek diábolos, which means “slanderer” or “accuser.” Bierce knew all too well the demons that lurk in our language. He wrote that the cynic sees things...

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‘A dancing pine tree, a surfacing sea monster, a wife splitting into sixteen pieces and reassembling’

‘A dancing pine tree, a surfacing sea monster, a wife splitting into sixteen pieces and reassembling’

From The Times Literary Supplement: Sometimes a person’s most fleeting glance, a throwaway comment, or simply their presence, can become fixed with significance, freeze-framed in the memory like a panel in a comic, there to revisit and linger over. The visual and verbal registers of graphic novels seem well...

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Niklas Schiöler on Tomas Tranströmer

Niklas Schiöler on Tomas Tranströmer

Franz Schubert’s handwritten sheet music by Niklas Schiöler The opening lines of Tomas Tranströmer’s poem “Schubertiana” from 1978 are: In the evening darkness at a place outside New York, an outlook where you can perceive eight million people’s homes in a single glance. The giant city there is a long...

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Suzanne Ruta: Benmalek for Cheney

Suzanne Ruta: Benmalek for Cheney

Photograph by Omar D by Suzanne Ruta In My Time A Personal and Political Memoir, by Dick Cheney, Threshold Editions: New York, 565 pp. Abduction, by Anouar Benmalek, Arabia Books, Haus Publishing Co: London, 299 pp Dick Cheney’s memoir, In My Time, is self serving, stonewalling and riddled with...

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Great Fun

Great Fun

The Finest Life You Ever Saw | by James Salter

The New York Review of Books

From his father, who loved the natural world, Hemingway learned in childhood to fish and shoot, and a love of these things shaped his life along...

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