Berfrois

December 2011

Always a Woman!

Always a Woman!

From the mid-twentieth century on Murdoch argued that modern philosophy, both in its analytic and French existentialist guises, is overly concerned with action and choice, operating with a naïve conception of the will and the idea of a liberal freely choosing agent.

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‘Modern’ Tibet

‘Modern’ Tibet

The Qinghai-Tibet Highway From Guardian: For some years now, Tibet has been part of the world’s fastest-growing and globalising economy – indeed Tibet, helped by government investments and subsidies, has enjoyed higher GDP growth than all of China. There has been a general rise in living standards. Many Tibetan...

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What do poetry editors do with all their time?

What do poetry editors do with all their time?

From Poetry: In a conversation I’m picturing, an imaginary American novelist named Pat is having drinks with a poet who is also the editor of some sort of poetry journal.  This poet is named Kendall: Pat: Does it ever happen that someone gives you a poem for your magazine,...

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Splendid Cabin

Splendid Cabin

Abraham Lincoln famously greeted Harriet Beecher Stowe at the White House in 1862, “so you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.”

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Comprehensively: Berfrois Interviews Melissa Benn

Comprehensively: Berfrois Interviews Melissa Benn

by Russell Bennetts Melissa Benn is a British journalist and writer. She has written for The Guardian, The London Review of Books, Marxism Today and many other publications. Her most recent book is School Wars: The Battle for Britain’s Education.            Berfrois Is the comprehensive dream over?            Benn Well yes...

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Might Marcuse remain a relevant source for social action and philosophical uplift?

Might Marcuse remain a relevant source for social action and philosophical uplift?

From The Chronicle Review: Bless the American university, that exemplar of pluralism. Was it a playful University of Pennsylvania scheduler who managed to assign to the same all-purpose Houston Hall over a few days in October both the annual good-vibes Penn Family Weekend and “Critical Refusals: The International Herbert...

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Queer Gaming by Evan Lauteria

Queer Gaming by Evan Lauteria

Last month, I spent an evening wandering through a mystical forest, desperately trying to move through the fog to find a clearing between the trees. I felt more and more anxious as I explored the wooded maze, haunted by the sounds the forest’s insect and avian inhabitants as I...

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Holly Watkins: Deep Music

Holly Watkins: Deep Music

An Overgrown Mineshaft, Carl Gustav Carus, c. 1824 by Holly Watkins When a friend says to you that she finds a piece of music deeply moving, you might assume she is referring to some intensely personal experience rooted in her unique psychological makeup. What’s more, you may sense that...

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‘Shiaphobia is nothing new for Saudi Arabia’

‘Shiaphobia is nothing new for Saudi Arabia’

In 2004, anticipating the victory of the Shiite parties in the Iraqi parliamentary elections, King Abdullah of Jordan warned of a “Shiite crescent” stretching from Iran into Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon that would be dominated by Iran with its large majority of Shias and Shiite clerical leadership.

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Anne Schutte: Gender and Monastic Release

Anne Schutte: Gender and Monastic Release

by Anne Jacobson Schutte A desperate nun, thrust against her will into a convent by cruel parents, cannot obtain release. Such is the prevailing image of involuntary female monachization in early modern Europe. The engraving reproduced above comes from Denis Diderot’s novel La Religieuse ‒ begun in 1760, published...

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Waste Paper

Waste Paper

‘Terse As Virulent Hermaphrodites’: Middlebrow Representations of Modernist Poets in the 1920s   by George Simmers Based on a  paper given at the conference on ‘The Popular Imagination and the Dawn of Modernism’, at the Institute of English Studies, University of London, 15 September, 2011. In P.G. Wodehouse’s 1925...

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“Is it a jail, father?”

“Is it a jail, father?”

Engraving of the U.S. Treasury building in 1804, from Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, No. 262, March, 1872 by Alison K. Hoagland Fortress of Finance: The United States Treasury Building, by Pamela Scott, Washington DC: Treasury Historical Association, Illustrations. xiv + 318 pp Pamela Scott, the premier architectural historian of...

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Eugenia Herbert: India’s Colonial Gardens

Eugenia Herbert: India’s Colonial Gardens

Researching an earlier book on the culture of late colonialism in the Upper Zambezi Valley of what was then Northern Rhodesia, I read a great many colonial memoirs, letters and reports, and interviewed ex-colonial officials. There were two things that surprised me: one was the importance of Worcestorshire sauce,...

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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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Jeremy Fernando: Not

A response — Bartleby’s response — foregrounding the fact that it is the “I” that “prefers not to”: not that ‘I cannot’ nor ‘I...

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Owen Vince on HARK

As a poet, you are your grandmother; you are browsing the obituaries with a red pen and an address book in your hand. The...

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Jay Aquinas Thompson Interviews Eric Weisbard

Eric Weisbard wrote twenty years ago, introducing the voluminous, era-summarizing, contrarian and contradictory Spin Alternative Record Guide.

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Collective Destruction by Keith Doubt

What, then, is sociocide? Sociocide resonates with the term demodernization formulated by A. V. Tishkov to account for the consequences of the war in...

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Heather Lang on Fiona Sampson and Sarah Morgan

Poet Fiona Sampson is a former career violinist, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, overt references to music appear in her work.

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Setsuko Adachi: Azalea Exuberance Strikes

In May, in the garden of the elevated house at the bottom of the hill, four shrubs of stunning azaleas come into full blossom....

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Joe Linker
Joe Linker on Li Po

Florence showed me what she called the most famous of Chinese poems. She had made her own translation from a Chinese language newspaper clipping....

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Teresa K. Miller and Gregory Giles Discuss Luc Moullet

To begin at the end: After nearly two hours exploring facets of exploitation in the globalized food system, Luc Moullet closes Genèse d’un repas/Origins...

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Adam Staley Groves: Iowa Nasty

Now it seems the state’s radical conservatives are degrading the historic, populist-provincial mentality of Iowa; they are revising the state’s legacy within the broader...

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Animal Spirits at the Nueva Burdalesa Bakery by Jessica Sequeira

A few years ago all I had was a certain ambition and an understanding, more or less, of how things work in this world....

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Sebastian Normandin
Meaning and Pseudoscience by Sebastian Normandin

The persistence and proliferation of pseudoscientific thinking in contemporary culture demands explanation. Clearly there are some pragmatic reasons for its expanded existence, and people...

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Janice Lee For the Ghost

The memories are like stutters. Sometimes I inhale for air, and exhale a shaking chain of memories. A choking hazard. I for the ghost....

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Edi Rama’s Bunker Mentality by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei

As many former Eastern Block countries in the EU display a hardly dissimulated form of racism and religious hatred, Albania, always a little behind...

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