Berfrois

October 2013

Woodrow Wilson and Race by Eric S. Yellin

Woodrow Wilson and Race by Eric S. Yellin

Woodrow Wilson, 1919 by Eric S. Yellin Progress is never inevitable, even in reform eras. The United States at the turn of the twentieth century was in a progressive mood. It was a time in which the nation’s leaders tackled some of modern life’s most vexing problems: from taming...

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It Wasn’t Malala; It Wasn’t Even Putin by Jeremy Fernando

It Wasn’t Malala; It Wasn’t Even Putin by Jeremy Fernando

On 2 October, 2013, we were confronted with a puzzling piece of news: Vladimir Putin had allegedly been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. After checking that the news did not come via Punch — and that we were not in April — true befuddlement sank in: apparently no...

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Naomi-Ruth-Boaz

Naomi-Ruth-Boaz

Naomi entreating Ruth and Orpah to return to the land of Moab, William Blake, 1795 by Emily McAvan In this paper I read the Book of Ruth from the Hebrew Bible in relation to modern Jewish feminist and queer theories. I trace the movement in the narrative between mourning...

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John Crutchfield in Leipzig

John Crutchfield in Leipzig

The first time I visited Leipzig, Germany was late in the winter of 1992, not long after the much-hyped reunification. The East was still very much “The East,” and though money was pouring in from the federal government, no one really seemed to know what the rules were. Prices...

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In Bed with Chesterton

In Bed with Chesterton

Lying in bed would be an altogether perfect and supreme experience if only one had a coloured pencil long enough to draw on the ceiling. This, however, is not generally a part of the domestic apparatus on the premises. I think myself that the thing might be managed with...

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Prospects for the Book

Prospects for the Book

Lightbulb and Book, Tim Mara, 1995-6 From Eurozine: Many books have been written about the future of the book, but the truth is that we still know little about the subject. The upshot of this paradoxical loop: the book has a glorious past and an unsettling present but, as...

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Is ‘Things Fall Apart’ an exemplar of literary existentialism?

Is ‘Things Fall Apart’ an exemplar of literary existentialism?

Readers of Things Fall Apart will recall the moment in the penultimate chapter of the novel when the gathering of the people of Umuofia is rudely interrupted by messengers from the white man. The messengers are confronted by Okonkwo, who happens to have taken a position at the very...

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Bodymoving

Bodymoving

From Dreamaphage, Jason Nelson, 2004 by Maria Angel and Anna Gibbs riting is indeed an act in league with the past and the future, but it also requires that a body move through the space of the now. The gestures of writing can make the body present as well...

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Penny Goring & Rauan Klassnik jst spk, woa

Penny Goring & Rauan Klassnik jst spk, woa

by Rauan Klassnik  *** anyone familiar with Penny Goring (her work, her Tumblr, her Tweets) will understand why I’m chuffed to be featuring her here in the 3rd installment of my UK Author’s Spotlight. anyone not familiar with Penny should check her out. most every link in this post...

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Jenny Diski has her eyes wide open

Jenny Diski has her eyes wide open

Last week while reading Samuel Beckett’s Company, I came across the phrase ‘a block hat’. Beckett describes his solitary protagonist lying on his back in the dark remembering the times when he walked in the countryside or the coast, with his father, as a child, and as an adult,...

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Paige Cohen on editing EJ Koh’s debut novel

Paige Cohen on editing EJ Koh’s debut novel

Butterfly Man (Red), Arthur Boyd, 1970 by Paige Cohen I first heard EJ Koh read around one year ago at The Strand Bookstore in New York City. A year ago, we were both still MFA students living on opposite ends of Manhattan, myself a fiction candidate at The New...

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Hilal Khashan on Geneva II

Hilal Khashan on Geneva II

Events have shown that the Obama Administration never wanted to get directly involved in the Syrian armed conflict. Its publicity stunt about hurling a few tomahawk missiles to punish the Syrian regime revealed President Barack Obama’s embarrassment about drawing a red line in the sand regarding using chemical weapons...

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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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Menachem Feuer on Sarah Silverman and Lena Dunham

Elle called Silverman’s image of her wearing a shirt with several naked Lena Dunhams a “beautiful tribute.” Dunham, the article tells us, “seemed to...

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