Berfrois

The Marx of the Avant-Gardes

The Marx of the Avant-Gardes

So much for an academic #Marx21c. What about the avant-gardes?

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A Bankrupt Secularism?

A Bankrupt Secularism?

From Of the Nature of Things, by Thomas Creech, T. Lucretius Carus, 1682–3 Engraving by Michael Burghers. by Ian Pollock The secular movement is a cause that, by and large, I support. I think a more secular society would be a better one. But I think some of the...

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El Toboso

El Toboso

From Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes, 1863. Illustration by Gustave Doré by Timothy Hampton In addition to his signal achievements as a knight errant, Don Quixote de la Mancha produced a small but noteworthy body of poetry. Samples of this poetry appear at different places in the history...

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In the Caspian Sea there is an eyeless fish that marks the only correct time of the universe…

In the Caspian Sea there is an eyeless fish that marks the only correct time of the universe…

Jahangir’s Dream, Abu’l Hasan, 1622 by Justin E. H. Smith The Khazars are so resourceful that they have oysters breeding on trees. They take a tree by the sea, bend its branches into the water, and hold them down with a rock; within two years the branches become so...

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The reader becomes addicted…

The reader becomes addicted…

In the FAMA documentary, “The Siege of Sarajevo,” the owner of a used bookstore in Sarajevo says that philosophy books were the most popular during the war. Customers frequented bought books by Aristotle, Hegel, and Kant. Deep concentration is required to read these works. The reader takes the role...

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Mammoth Mugs

Mammoth Mugs

Woolly Mammoths, Charles R. Knight, 1915 by Leonard Finkelman I need two things to start my average weekday. One of them is coffee. The coffee, of course, goes into a mug . Mugs reflect our deepest-held values, proudly displaying the logo of a faceless corporate monolith or the title...

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You

Bébert Survived

Bébert Survived

There is a cat that sits on the sidewalk in front of the bistro Chez Bébert near the Gare Montparnasse in Paris (I snapped his picture just yesterday). He does not greet visitors, but he does give them to know, in his silent occupation of that crucial space before...

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‘Camus was seduced over a dinner by the creator of anthropophagy’

‘Camus was seduced over a dinner by the creator of anthropophagy’

L-R: Oswald de Andrade; Albert Camus by João Cezar de Castro Rocha In 1946 Albert Camus traveled to South America. During this journey, he took random notes published posthumously, in which he produced irregular (and sometimes brutal) remarks on both cities visited and on persons he met. In São...

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Such Meats

Such Meats

When King Pyrrhus invaded Italy, having viewed and considered the order of the army the Romans sent out to meet him; “I know not,” said he, “what kind of barbarians” (for so the Greeks called all other nations) “these may be; but the disposition of this army that I...

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En Face

En Face

In the everyday use of the concept, saying that something is grotesque rarely implies anything other than saying that something is a bit outside of the normal structure of language or meaning – that something is a peculiarity. But in its historical use the concept has often had more...

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Sociology(:) for the Rich

Sociology(:) for the Rich

The Battle Between Carnival and Lent, Pieter Brueghel the Younger, 1559 From N+1: It seems there’s no way out of sociology; nevertheless sociology cannot provide us with internal reasons for its ever-rising prestige. Surely we want to be able to say that the sociology of culture is valuable because...

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Daniel Tutt on Fethi Benslama

Daniel Tutt on Fethi Benslama

The political philosopher Charles Taylor made an excellent observation recently when he pointed out that Islam is usually the culture that multiculturalism fails to adequately encompass in its pretensions towards universalism. By excluding Islam on the basis of the very values that multiculturalism stands for, Islam presents to liberal...

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There are butterflies in Colorado, too…

There are butterflies in Colorado, too…

by Justin E. H. Smith Vladimir Nabokov has done pretty much all a human can do, from within the pouch of corporeal experience and the tunnel of time, to trace out the boundaries of the absolute. He has done so entirely without positive beliefs, but armed only with a...

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Jerry Moore: Feverish Rivers

I learned that Gerardo Reichel-Dolmatoff had been a Nazi when I was in a Santa Marta supermarket. I had just stepped into the Exito...

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Lauren Berlant
Lauren Berlant flies

Most of the writing we do is actually a performance of stuckness. It is a record of where we got stuck on a question...

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Robyn Ferrell on Balthus

The pitfalls of identification, hero-worship, envy and malice can beset the most patient writer in the throes of five hundred-plus pages of attention to...

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Michael Munro on Spinoza

Immanence is not philosophy, nor philosophy immanence. But there is in the passage from one to the other a modification of sense that is...

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David Beer
David Beer: Broadcastwerk

Writing at sometime around 1930 or 1931, Walter Benjamin suggested that the voice on the radio is a like a visitor in the home,...

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Rose Barnsley: Young, Gifted and Žižekian

At nineteen, it is easy to think that all you're missing is the right movement. But there is something about the young left wing...

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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Rama’s And

While local journalists were once again busy regurgitating worn-down, coma inducing positions about yet another spectral appearance of Enver Hoxha at the celebration of...

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Playing the Percentages: Berfrois Interviews Danny Dorling

The portrait of the 1% in your book is one of sociopathic, power-hungry narcissists with a striking lack of empathy. This may seem antagonistic,...

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Joseph Spece
Joseph Spece: When Gamers Attack

Like many ugly controversies, the beginnings of #gamergate are linked to the end of love — well, the end of a relationship, at least....

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Lauren Berlant performs by clicking

Today I introduced Facebook to someone older than me and had a long conversation about what the point of networking amongst “friends” is. The...

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Tinder Times by Bibi Deitz

I am in bed with a man. He has to go home. He is not staying the night. So he pulls out his iPhone...

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Jenny Diski keeps up

Some things are best met with silence. If I were to proceed with this month’s column in an honest way, it would be a...

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From Fashion by Tracy O’Neill

The man who brought us a disembodied protagonist alluringly voiced by Scarlett Johansson has now issued a drama — starring apparel. Recently, Opening Ceremony...

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Philippe Theophanidis on Jean-Luc Godard

At one point near the end of his unfinished novel Jean Santeuil, Marcel Proust describes a painting by Claude Monet from 1897, titled “Bras...

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