Berfrois

June 2014

  • Berfrois Will Eat Itself

    June 2014 Highlights

    Berfrois Will Eat Itself

    I am writing a book with Rauan Klassnik. It’s 22 stories about Taylor Swift. It’s called Foxconn Suicide. However, for every mention of tea, he adds a reference to coffee. For every meal of fish and chips, a character has to order a hot dog. I’m beginning to doubt that Rauan’s even British. It’s a-time to put him to the test.

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Jenny Diski on yearning and lies

Jenny Diski on yearning and lies

In the late 1970s I was pushing the pram down Heath Street, a vertiginous road in Hampstead with Heath at the top end and Hampstead Tube Station and the High Street full of fancy shops below. From the top of the hill I saw a bright glow down by...

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Try and Read This

Try and Read This

Photograph by Olga From The New York Review of Books: Arriving in the small village of Quinzano, just outside Verona, Italy, thirty-three years ago, aged twenty-six, leaving friends and family behind in the UK, unpublished and unemployed, always anxious to know how the next London publisher would respond to...

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Ryan Chang on Kate Zambreno

Ryan Chang on Kate Zambreno

Photograph by kygp by Ryan Chang Green Girl: A Novel (P.S.), by Kate Zambreno, Emergency Press, 268 pp. When I’m trying to think about Lacan’s jouissance, I think of how my friends describe their trips on dimethyltriptamine, or DMT. DMT, naturally produced by our brains in the last minutes...

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Piketty’s Response

Piketty’s Response

This is a response to the criticisms - which I interpret as requests for additional information – that were published in the Financial Times on May 23 2014. These criticisms only refer to the series reported in chapter 10 of my book Capital in the 21st century, and not...

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Football Time

Football Time

by Oliver Farry Though I have a few memories of España ’82 – and even a brief ticker tape-strewn flicker of Argentina ’78 is lodged in my unconscious – Mexico 86 was my first ‘real’ World Cup. An unwritten rule generally dictates that one’s first World Cup is the...

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Did Concrete poetry cause Brazilian electronic poetry?

Did Concrete poetry cause Brazilian electronic poetry?

If the first “wave” of Digital Humanities was said to have prompted a quantitative turn, e.g. the compilation and implementation of databases as well as the organization of information in elaborate arrays, then the much anticipated “second wave” is to be “qualitative, interpretive, experimental, emotive, generative in character”.

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Contingent and Necessary

Contingent and Necessary

by Justin E. H. Smith There is a familiar distinction in philosophy between contingent and necessary truths. Truths of the latter sort are those the negation of which implies a contradiction, or those that are true simply in virtue of the meaning of the words involved. For example, “A...

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A Tear

A Tear

From Evolution of household articles, animals etc. according to Darwin’s doctrine, Fr. Schmidt. Via Wellcome Library From The Threepenny Review: I remain stuck with the fact that Darwin cannot explain the origin of The Origin of Species. The story of evolution would be very different if the narrator weren’t...

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Remembering Inez McCormack

Remembering Inez McCormack

On the English side of the Irish Sea, the icons of peace tend to be represented as the benign British government confronted by brawling paddies, and saintly, good people who begged the men of the guns to lay down their guns. Inez McCormack, who died last year, was...

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How can people be both equal and dignified?

How can people be both equal and dignified?

I have been reading Geoffrey Hartman’s A Scholar’s Tale: Intellectual Journey of a Displaced Child of Europe. By “intellectual journey” Hartman means something like an autobiographical bibliography — it is full of stories surrounding his writing. I started reading it mostly for Hartman’s memories of Erich Auerbach, with whose...

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“But-but-but, but-but-but…”

“But-but-but, but-but-but…”

Surely no one makes the case for orthophemism as a virtue of public speech more clearly than Cicero: "When you speak of the anus," he writes, "you call it by a name that is not its own; why not rather call it by its own [i.e.,...

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Daniel Bosch on Peter Cole

Daniel Bosch on Peter Cole

by Daniel Bosch The Invention of Influence, by Peter Cole, New Directions, 120 pp. In his six-page introduction to The Invention of Influence, Harold Bloom writes that Delmore Schwartz and Peter Cole share “the gift of almost never writing badly.” Bloom’s praise seems backhanded to me because on the...

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