Berfrois

November 2013

Gorky on Chekhov

Gorky on Chekhov

Portrait of Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, Osip Braz, 1898 by Maxim Gorky Once he invited me to the village Kout-chouk-Koy where he had a tiny strip of land and a white, two-storied house. There, while showing me his “estate,” he began to speak with animation: “If I had plenty of...

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Presenting Art by Patricia Emison

Presenting Art by Patricia Emison

I came to John Berger's Ways of Seeing through the back door. About a decade after the four-part series on the BBC (1972) had excited attention as a scrappy response to Kenneth Clark's staid Civilisation (1969), I read the book because the title was so often cited. I confess...

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Once cosmopolitanism becomes a force for social change, that’s when the difficulties begin…

Once cosmopolitanism becomes a force for social change, that’s when the difficulties begin…

by Justin E. H. Smith Cosmopolitanism is most closely associated with certain tendencies in Hellenistic philosophy. Diogenes the Cynic answered the question, “Where are you from?” by saying simply, “I am a kosmou polites– a citizen of the world” (DL 6.63). Many scholars have noted the broad resemblances between this Cynic...

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‘The world is turning into text’

‘The world is turning into text’

by Gregory Jusdanis Who me, listen to audio books? That was my attitude until recently, a prejudice of my profession that literature is better read than heard. But on a solo road trip this summer I took along the ten-disk set of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn...

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Joel Gn: Coded Fandom

Joel Gn: Coded Fandom

Certainly for the adherents of Anonymous, possessing the technique to re-write a web-page is similar to achieving autonomy over the ones who created it, even if this form of autonomy exposes itself to the contradiction of working with the same language or code necessary for the construction and subsequent...

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To Jenny Diski, the 1950s seem a pale dove gray…

To Jenny Diski, the 1950s seem a pale dove gray…

by Jenny Diski Family Britain by David Kynaston, Walker & Company, 776 pp. Our Times: The Age of Elizabeth II,  by A. N. Wilson, Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 482 pp. I was born in central London in 1947, a child in a very special generation. In no time at...

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Bobbi Lurie: Hashtaglingerz

Bobbi Lurie: Hashtaglingerz

Artists glorify the imagination. And all people are artists when it comes to creating a “me.” Glorification of the imagination, and the imaginary “me,” is glorification of escape routes taken to avoid The Truth. Most of our energy is put into maintaining a fictitious self, a mask. We do...

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Masha Tupitsyn’s Summer

Masha Tupitsyn’s Summer

As we walk back home, up that same country road we will lie down on minutes later, he says that my bare legs light the road because the moon isn’t full yet. Looking back, I think I interrupted him before he had the chance to fully flirt with me...

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David Beer: Simmel’s General Method

David Beer: Simmel’s General Method

Metropolis, Fritz Lang, 1927 by David Beer Form and Dialectic in Georg Simmel’s Sociology: A New Interpretation, by Henry Schermer and David Jary, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, 328pp. As well as being a somewhat interesting character, Georg Simmel is perhaps best described as an eclectic, diverse and unconventional social thinker....

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Never to have had a brilliant dream would be to live too much in the day…

Never to have had a brilliant dream would be to live too much in the day…

Study of Parisina’s head, Parisina’s Sleep, Ford Maddox Brown, 1842 by Alice Meynell There are hours claimed by Sleep, but refused to him. None the less are they his by some state within the mind, which answers rhythmically and punctually to that claim. Awake and at work, without drowsiness,...

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Out

Out

From The Chronicle Review: Any addict can give you a hundred reasons why he should quit, tell you dozens of stories that would make any other person quit. But the decision to quit and “what would make you stop” are two very different things for the addict. Here’s how...

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Akshay Pathak on Vijaydan Detha

Akshay Pathak on Vijaydan Detha

Vijaydan Detha, the fabulist, folklorist writer would have been pleased if one were to start talking about him with a chougou - a form of mostly nonsensical rhythm or rhyme he employed in most of his stories much in the oral tradition of storytelling that he found himself most...

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