Berfrois

July 2013

Andre Gerard: Hullo Fadduh

Andre Gerard: Hullo Fadduh

Ever since Edmund Gosse published Father and Son in 1907, father memoirs have caused a kind of Linnean unease. Talking about Gosse’s book in The Development of English Biography (1927), Harold Nicholson said it is not "a conventional biography; still less is it an autobiography. It is something entirely...

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The Chums of Dyn-O-Mite!

The Chums of Dyn-O-Mite!

Chicago World’s Fair 1893, H. D. Nichols, 1861-1897 by Ralph Clare Pynchon’s Against the Day: A Corrupted Pilgrim’s Guide, edited by Jeffrey Severs and Christopher Leise, Rowman & Littlefield, 320 pp. Pynchon’s Against the Day: A Corrupted Pilgrim’s Guide, edited by Jeffrey Severs and Christopher Leise, mixes venerable scholars...

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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 CAPACITY

THE CAPACITY

Kirill Medvedev’s poems are easy to get into. He explains situations, tells stories about people. You don’t mind listening and want to hear more. He’s contemplative and calm and reasonable, even when he’s making a wakeup call, dissing and dressing down, asking why things can’t be rearranged. The vocabulary...

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Who We Were by Talia Welsh

Who We Were by Talia Welsh

Not everyone is interested in children, but it is hard to find a person disinterested in their own childhood. Identity is so shaped by those first years of life and the relationships into which people finds themselves happily (or unhappily) born. What it is to be human is a...

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Bobbi Lurie: Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Men

Bobbi Lurie: Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Men

by Bobbi Lurie Dear Russell Bennetts, editor of Berfrois. After seeing the god-awful Season Six finale of Mad Men, I have decided to throw away my television set. Here is a tweet I posted immediately after watching it: Bobbi Lurie ‏@BobbiLurie n-n-n-nnooooooooo …. not the “redemption” thing ~ ~...

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Girls Like Sappho

Girls Like Sappho

Poet and performer Olga Krause traces her life as a lesbian in Russia—from Soviet times, when the word itself was barely known, through increasing acceptance, and back to a newly violent and hostile environment.

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W for Welles

W for Welles

Poster for F is For Fake, Specialty Films, 1975 From The New Yorker: When Welles came to Hollywood, in 1939, at the age of twenty-four, he was already famous for his radio work—not least for the great “War of the Worlds” hoax—and heralded as the next big thing without...

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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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None but Wits

None but Wits

by Margaret Cavendish Those that have very quick Thoughts, shall speak readier than write; because in speaking they are not tied to any style or number: besides, in speaking, Thoughts lie loose and careless; but in writing they are gathered up, and are like water in a Cup whose...

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MEGA Marx: Berfrois Interviews Jonathan Sperber

MEGA Marx: Berfrois Interviews Jonathan Sperber

Marx certainly made lots of hostile comments about Jews in his correspondence, whether about his encounters with obscure individuals or in regard to his relations with his pupil and rival Ferdinand Lassalle. In his 1844 essay “On the Jewish Question,” he denounced Judaism as a religion encouraging haggling, greed,...

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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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