Berfrois

November 2017

In November, we hear death’s footsteps..

In November, we hear death’s footsteps..

We have a little bit more time. It’s one of the last days of the month, and the clouds have come and so the rain will come and then the snow will come.

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Ecstasy and Turmoil

Ecstasy and Turmoil

Boris Pasternak is best known for writing Doctor Zhivago, a novel which documents these years of national upheaval through the eyes of a poet...

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Putting Bodies at the Heart of Resistance

Putting Bodies at the Heart of Resistance

‘We make art with our cunt,’ wrote ’90s cyberfeminists, VNS Matrix. ‘Gender abolitionism’ (Xenofeminism: A Politics for Alienation, 2015) has marked a shift in rhetoric, and Cornelia Sollfrank was the only 2017 delegate I remember to use the c-word

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‘Both of my parents had used drugs — opioids — since my childhood’

‘Both of my parents had used drugs — opioids — since my childhood’

I sat on a wrought iron daybed facing an open window, and a warm breeze was pooling in. It was the first day in my second foster home...

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The Shape of an Egg by Amy Glynn

The Shape of an Egg by Amy Glynn

Our first Christmas together, I was 39 weeks pregnant. He let me drag a seven-foot fir tree up the stairs to the flat and sat on the couch with a beer...

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Virginia Woolf on Dorothy Osborne

Virginia Woolf on Dorothy Osborne

Our early literature owes something of its magnificence to the fact that writing was an uncommon art, practised, rather for fame than for money...

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The Chinese-Filipino Experience

The Chinese-Filipino Experience

I do not know what my first language is. It’s definitely not English, of that at least I’m sure. Sometimes I think it’s the Southern Min language, spoken in the southern province of Fujian in China.

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‘The illegal course of the independence movement cost Catalonia its biggest loss of autonomy in decades’

‘The illegal course of the independence movement cost Catalonia its biggest loss of autonomy in decades’

Opponents of independence pointed out the discomfort they feel when they express their views. I am sure that many people who favour secession think that a society where people are afraid to express democratic opinions...

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Thinking About Monsters

Thinking About Monsters

Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, Bill Cosby, William Burroughs, Richard Wagner, Sid Vicious, V. S. Naipaul, John Galliano, Norman Mailer, Ezra Pound, Caravaggio, Floyd Mayweather, though if we start listing athletes we’ll never stop.

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Trash. Waste. Junk.

Trash. Waste. Junk.

Yeah, I mean, it made a kind of sense. Iron Chef: Showdown is leftovers of leftovers of leftovers, and I say that as a fan of Iron Nerd Alton Brown.

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A wandering, restless existence…

A wandering, restless existence…

To work in academe is to live at an angle slightly askew to the regular run of American life.

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Ludwig II’s Neuschwanstein remains perhaps the world’s greatest work of fan art…

Ludwig II’s Neuschwanstein remains perhaps the world’s greatest work of fan art…

No cars are permitted to drive the path that winds up the mountain. In fair weather, as now in late April, buses and horse-drawn carriages...

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Instagramm’d Nevertheless

Instagramm’d Nevertheless

While touring England’s Lake District, poet Thomas Gray suffered what we might call a selfie-induced injury.

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Everything Glowed With a Gleam

Everything Glowed With a Gleam

In Hardy’s “The Self-Unseeing,” he visits the remains of his childhood home and recalls where the door was, how the floor felt, how his mother sat...

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Joe Linker on Jessica Sequeira

Joe Linker on Jessica Sequeira

by Joe Linker Rhombus and Oval, by Jessica Sequeira, What Books Press, 117 pp. “Rhombus and Oval” is the title of the lead piece in this collection of stories by Jessica Sequeira, a translator of Spanish and French, and a writer. The text of twenty-one stories runs 112 pages, each...

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James Miller: Towards a Deranged Realism

James Miller: Towards a Deranged Realism

Before the confusion sets in, I’m going to try to make some statements, set out a few positions that will also be provocations and, inevitably, generalisations.

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‘There hasn’t been a generational divide this pronounced since the 1960s.’

‘There hasn’t been a generational divide this pronounced since the 1960s.’

On a recent visit to my parents, my mother asked me whether I want to have kids. Being 30 and single, an uncle to a niece and a nephew...

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