Berfrois

August 2016

Top Tips by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei

Top Tips by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei

The remainders of a socialist realist bas-relief on a heap of former Qemal Stafa Stadium debris. Photo from Edi Rama’s Facebook. by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei For the last two months, I have been woken every day by workmen below my apartment building, viciously attempting to renovate the...

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45˚38’N 13˚46’E

45˚38’N 13˚46’E

This fascinating work of scholarship concerns the association between two great 20th-century writers and the city that brought them together. The writers were the Italian Italo Svevo (1861–1928) and the Irishman James Joyce (1882–1941). The city was Trieste (45˚38’N 13˚46’E).

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Kissing the Pebbles

Kissing the Pebbles

If Basil Bunting were not remembered for “Briggflatts”—his longest and best poem, first published fifty years ago—he might still be remembered as the protagonist of a preposterously eventful twentieth-century life.

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The ghosts of 1984 were Sumerian shape-shifting demons transplanted to Central Park West…

The ghosts of 1984 were Sumerian shape-shifting demons transplanted to Central Park West…

To learn more about ghosts, I recently watched the original “Ghostbusters.” It became clear to me, as it had not been when the movie came out, in 1984, when I was seven years old, that ghosts congregate around the enemies of free-market capitalism.

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By removing Dennis Cooper’s blog, Google has deleted the future…

By removing Dennis Cooper’s blog, Google has deleted the future…

SEARCH FOR: Search… COMMUNITY AND CATASTROPHE weaklings-cover 10TH AUG 2016 IN MISC BY DIARMUID HESTER 0 COMMENTS By now you’ve probably heard about Google deleting Dennis Cooper’s blog and his email account. Just in case, here’s the deal: on 27th of June, Cooper tried to log into his blog, The Weaklings,...

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Keith Doubt: Faltering

Keith Doubt: Faltering

It is Trump’s political legitimacy, however unthinkable, rather than his personality or his rhetoric, that now empowers his campaign. But this is nothing new. Twenty years ago, we watched nationalist leaders display all of these issues vividly on global media during the Bosnian War.

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Jay Merill on Joanna Walsh

Jay Merill on Joanna Walsh

Hotel by Joanna Walsh, is a book in Bloomsbury’s Object Lessons series. It is essentially a memoir in the context of visits made to hotels by a reviewer who is at that time undergoing a personal marital breakdown.

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Bosch’s imagination ranged from a place beyond the spheres of Heaven to the uttermost depths of Hell…

Bosch’s imagination ranged from a place beyond the spheres of Heaven to the uttermost depths of Hell…

There has never been a painter quite like Jheronimus van Aken, the Flemish master who signed his works as Jheronimus Bosch.

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Your Version Perfect

Your Version Perfect

I never met Vladimir Nabokov face to face, though I exchanged phone calls and letters with him. My psychiatrist encouraged me to visit him in Switzerland, but I was too afraid that I would quickly sabotage close-up whatever good impression I might have managed to create long-distance.

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Black history has too often been stolen by white narrators…

Black history has too often been stolen by white narrators…

Colson Whitehead’s novels are rebellious creatures: Each one of them goes to great lengths to break free of the last one, of its structure and language, of its areas of interest.

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Cynthia Ozick advocates for no theory…

Cynthia Ozick advocates for no theory…

Unlike the literature it marshals as its subject, literary criticism frequently finds itself in the position of having to defend its existence, of taking breaks from dealing with fiction and poetry in order to deal with itself.

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They could only party at the Germans’ behest…

They could only party at the Germans’ behest…

So unprepared had France been for defeat that resistance had had no time to organise in these early days and those who did want to act against the Nazis didn’t know how.

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The Cat Chooses

The Cat Chooses

Whether the issue is war or Brexit, many of us today assume that democracy requires the government to do what we collectively choose to do. One reason why this is not a wise way to think about democracy is that it places all the importance on the ability to...

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A-M-E-R-I-C-A by Ed Simon

A-M-E-R-I-C-A by Ed Simon

Used cynically, the word “America” is conceptualised not as that undiscovered country yet to be born on maps yet printed, but rather it is to employ the word as simple superstitious talisman. They take the Lord’s name in vain.

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Oscar Wilde: Art’s Rough Material

Oscar Wilde: Art’s Rough Material

People tell us that Art makes us love Nature more than we loved her before; that it reveals her secrets to us; and that after a careful study of Corot and Constable we see things in her that had escaped our observation.

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Jessica Sequeira on Janice Lee

Jessica Sequeira on Janice Lee

by Jessica Sequeira The Sky Isn’t Blue by Janice Lee Civil Coping Mechanisms, 226 pp. Los Angeles is a city of sprawl and sunshine, but it can also be a very lonely place. When Maggie Nelson moved out there from New York to teach at CalArts, heartbroken, she wrote her collection of...

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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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