Berfrois

August 2013

‘The euro has survived’

‘The euro has survived’

Photograph by Julian Herzog From London Review of Books: All quiet on the euro front? Seen from Berlin, it looks as though the continent is now under control at last, after the macro-financial warfare of the last three years. A new authority, the Troika, is policing the countries that...

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Crazy Characters

Crazy Characters

Around 1905 or 1906, Sigmund Freud wrote an essay, unpublished in his lifetime, called “Psychopathic Characters on the Stage.” The essay addressed the question of what we, as spectators, get out of watching people go crazy. Freud’s theory was that we’re fascinated by crazy characters because they help us...

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The Chinese have a stronger claim on Pearl Buck than the Americans do…

The Chinese have a stronger claim on Pearl Buck than the Americans do…

Pearl Buck receives the Nobel Prize for Literature from King Gustav V of Sweden, Stockholm, 1938. From World Literature Today: I have no intention of rehearsing yet another diatribe against the Swedish Academy’s Nobel committee in Stockholm, which, as is well known in US publishing circles, hasn’t awarded its...

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Monica Popescu on J. M. Coetzee

Monica Popescu on J. M. Coetzee

Why did Coetzee grant access to his manuscripts, notebooks, friends and family to a scholar whose completed work, he must have known beforehand, would have favorable reviews describe it at best as factual, fine and monumental?

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Cold War Social Science by Audra J. Wolfe

Cold War Social Science by Audra J. Wolfe

Last November I sat in a hotel ballroom surrounded by fellow historians of science as a baffling (to me, anyway) exchange unfolded over the legitimacy of the term “Cold War Social Science.” The occasion was a roundtable discussion at the History of Science Society’s annual meeting on a new...

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Andrew Hodgson on Alexander Trocchi

Andrew Hodgson on Alexander Trocchi

Much is written of Alexander Trocchi’s “profound nihilism”. It is often argued that in his rejection and modification of language and narrative; work and reality (through taking heroin): he “willed death”; “willed to nothingness”. In his “serious novels” Young Adam and Cain’s Book amongst the detachment from other people;...

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Wait–Whit–What?

Wait–Whit–What?

by Mike Chasar The January 2013 issue of PMLA has a pretty cool article (“Whitman’s Children“) by Bowdoin College English Professor Peter Coviello that takes as its starting point a couple of babies born after the U.S. Civil War that were named Walt—a nominal tribute that two veterans paid...

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The Dream. The Method.

The Dream. The Method.

  The dream: A publicly-funded Berfrois, free from ads. The method, man: YOU!  

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Man

Man

Frederick Douglass, 1852 From The New York Times: Upon arriving at the White House, Douglass found “the stairway was crowded with applicants … and as I was the only dark spot among them, I expected to have to wait at least half a day.” But within two minutes he...

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> look

> look

Each time I access “Galatea,” Emily Short’s fabulous piece of interactive fiction, a supple string of text hails me, flirts with me, and stops just short of calling me by name. Strictly speaking, this mode of address should not be possible, at least not according to the familiar conventions...

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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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Jill Norgren: American Women Pioneers of Law

Jill Norgren: American Women Pioneers of Law

Belva Lockwood by Jill Norgren No woman shall degrade herself by practicing law…if I can save her. I think the clack of those possible Portias will never be heard at Dwight’s moot courts. “Women’s Rights-women” are uncommonly loud & offensive of late. I loathe the lot. — George Templeton...

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Now See Here by Thomas Heise

Now See Here by Thomas Heise

Of the half million international tourists visiting Brazil for World Cup in 2014, several thousand will take the new gondolas, purchased from German company Doppelmayr, to Sugarloaf Mountain, and on the ride up and down will have a sweeping view of Rio de Janeiro’s notorious favelas. Laid out before...

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Reason to be Cheerful, Part 5

Reason to be Cheerful, Part 5

Frontispiece of Über den Menschen und seine Verhältnisse, by Carl Wilhelm Frölich, 1792. Engraving by Carl Christian Glaßbach From Eurozine: Professor of Modern European History at the Institute for Advanced Study located in Princeton, New Jersey, Israel built his reputation as a historian of the Spanish and Dutch empires....

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Four Swords Adventure

Four Swords Adventure

At my artist’s residency in France. Long bike ride through the birch woods today, then two swims in the Seine river. No one around. I don’t want to live in cities anymore. Not all the time. Or at least not in any American city. And not in soul-sucking New...

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2013’s 2013 Public Funding Fundraiser Drive

2013’s 2013 Public Funding Fundraiser Drive

Photograph by Allen Ginsberg by Ceal Nassady “Wup! wup!  man this is IT—this year’s funding drive for Berfrois. If you get your kicks reading Berfrois every day ad free then gee…THIS is your chance…to keep it that way man, yass, yass. Now you all read BERFROIS and you all...

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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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