Berfrois

January 2017

Eric D. Lehman: The Hartford Wits and Literary History

Eric D. Lehman: The Hartford Wits and Literary History

The architects of the American literary canon have always struggled between aesthetics and the demands of historicity. The Hartford Wits are a sad example of how this tension has become lopsided in favor of aesthetic currency, practically erasing this important group from critical study.

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Jesse Miksic: A Bad Dream for a New Year

Jesse Miksic: A Bad Dream for a New Year

It turned out 2016 was not just a "terrible year." Like most conventional wisdom, that chestnut turned out to be bunk.

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It was the voice of Fancy; it was the face of Poetry…

It was the voice of Fancy; it was the face of Poetry…

As we passed along between Wem and Shrewsbury, and I eyed their blue tops seen through the wintry branches, or the red rustling leaves of the sturdy oak-trees by the road-side, a sound was in my ears as of a Siren's song; I was stunned

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Without the Comfort of Solitude

Without the Comfort of Solitude

At college, dormitory suites had single and double bedrooms. For three years, I lived in one bedroom crowded with everything I owned. During my senior year, I managed to secure a single suite: bedroom and sitting room and bath.

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Cranked-Up, Extreme Tabloid Machine

Cranked-Up, Extreme Tabloid Machine

With the incorporation of the ’60s counter-culture into the machinery of normalisation, the re-emergence of an underground from the late ’70s onward corresponded to an increasingly fraught and combative stance.

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Write Our Democracy

Write Our Democracy

Join us on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday as we reaffirm our commitment to a tolerant and diverse society. Free and open to the public. One of over 40 events worldwide.

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Democracy Is Coming

Democracy Is Coming

Cohen admitted in television interviews that he feared a rise of extremism, a growing feeling of dangerous hospitability to “the extremist position” which ends in his song’s decree “I’ve seen the future, brother: / It is murder.”

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Tammy Ho Lai-Ming: Things I Heard About Hong Kong in 2016

Tammy Ho Lai-Ming: Things I Heard About Hong Kong in 2016

I heard that Hong Kong children are not happy. Those aged eight to nine and those over fourteen are particularly discontented. I heard that even kindergarten children have to do lots of homework.

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This Be the Construct

This Be the Construct

When I used to come to Venice in the 1970s I ate, sometimes every night, at Montin’s, now quite a celebrated restaurant and a short walk from the Accademia.

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Kings Lear by Stuart Elden

Kings Lear by Stuart Elden

by Stuart Elden The One King Lear, by Brian Vickers, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 416 pp. Anyone who has seen more than one production of a Shakespeare play in a theatre, or watched a film version, will know that the words said by the actors can change. Speeches are...

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“Room exists for political manoeuvre”

“Room exists for political manoeuvre”

Jürgen Habermas: The Left must regain the initiative and offer a credible response the destructive forces of unbridled capitalism.

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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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