Berfrois

January 2018

The Mary Shelley Who Endures

The Mary Shelley Who Endures

For 200 years, the freewheeling, chaotic lives of the Romantic poets, replete with sexual emancipation, elopement, teenage pregnancies and tragic death, have provided biographers with abundant riches. Mary Shelley’s illustrious parentage...

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Eric D. Lehman on Edmund Gosse

Eric D. Lehman on Edmund Gosse

Edmund Gosse’s Father and Son: A Study of Two Temperaments was anonymously published in 1907 and faced immediate backlash in England due to its apparent criticism of Victorian morality.

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‘I was happy living on my own’

‘I was happy living on my own’

The apartment was a dive. There was no way to defrost the freezer. It was just a solid block of ice. When you opened the door, it was like looking out a small window after an avalanche.

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Talking of 1948 unifies Gazan families as they live under siege…

Talking of 1948 unifies Gazan families as they live under siege…

In Gaza more than 60 percent of the population is under the age of twenty-five, and it is among the young that the deepest despair often takes root.

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Steven Felicelli on Navid Kermani

Steven Felicelli on Navid Kermani

With the penetrating eye of Roland Barthes, bursting heart of a love-drunk Rumi and ironic conscience of Günter Grass, Navid Kermani appraises...

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Economic trends are made manifest by people with plans…

Economic trends are made manifest by people with plans…

New York used to be a place where fishmongers, seamstresses, and dock workers lived a stone’s throw from Rockefellers.

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The Art of Fiction by Willa Cather

The Art of Fiction by Willa Cather

One is sometimes asked about the "obstacles" that confront young writers who are trying to do good work...

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Dalston Loverboy Takes Over Greenwich by Paul Johnathan

Dalston Loverboy Takes Over Greenwich by Paul Johnathan

Charles Jeffrey moved from Glasgow to London to study fashion at Central Saint Martins. He soon ran out of cash, propelling him to start LOVERBOY...

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Lady Bird’s nostalgia isn’t quite nostalgia…

Lady Bird’s nostalgia isn’t quite nostalgia…

One of the most peculiar qualities of Greta Gerwig’s much-acclaimed film Lady Bird is that—especially for a coming-of-age story, or domestic drama, or whatever you call it...

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Heady intimacy enjoyed in the arid Mexican desert…

Heady intimacy enjoyed in the arid Mexican desert…

To look at surrealist art is to see female bodies in pieces. Here a disembodied leg, there a mysterious eye.

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Kevin Hong on Critical Assembly

Kevin Hong on Critical Assembly

Thirty-three years in the making, Critical Assembly details the thoughts and experiences of forty-six people involved in the creation of the atomic bomb.

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60s nostalgia now or 60s nostalgia later?

60s nostalgia now or 60s nostalgia later?

The clever adage that “anyone who claims to remember the 1960s wasn’t really there” is amusing only because so many people associate the Age of Aquarius with a drug-induced haze.

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Stevie Nicks has always had dreams that literally come true…

Stevie Nicks has always had dreams that literally come true…

Early in Stephen Davis’s workmanlike unauthorized biography of Stevie Nicks, we witness the circumstances of her most enduring creation’s birth.

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For the Loss

For the Loss

As the campaign came to an end, Trump himself was sanguine. His ultimate goal, after all, had never been to win. “I can be the most famous man in the world”...

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“Economics is among the least interdisciplinary and most hierarchical academic fields”

“Economics is among the least interdisciplinary and most hierarchical academic fields”

John Maynard Keynes once remarked that ‘practical men who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.’

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Over the Grave

Over the Grave

If the circumstances of a not-untypical Denis Johnson character are defined by the story The Starlight on Idaho – “on” not “over” because it’s actually a rehab facility.

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Mary McCarthy’s Factuality

Mary McCarthy’s Factuality

In the winter of 1960, Mary McCarthy—the writer whom Norman Mailer once described as “our saint, our umpire, our lit arbiter, our broadsword”...

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A New Year’s X

A New Year’s X

And to think, fair Bennetts, that I’d always misheard iron as island. “The tolling of the island bell.” The new year dawns.

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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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