Berfrois

March 2018

Ed Simon: Punic Encomium

Ed Simon: Punic Encomium

Purple being an error is not, however, a law of physics, or a mitzvoth of the Hebraic covenant, rather it is a suggestion, and the first thing you must consider about the plain style is that like anything in culture...

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Judie Newman on Harriet Beecher Stowe

Judie Newman on Harriet Beecher Stowe

“So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war!” Abraham Lincoln’s apocryphal greeting to Harriet Beecher Stowe in 1862 has become known in literary history, after the colossal impact of Uncle Tom’s Cabin...

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Gyms are not sites of spontaneity and play…

Gyms are not sites of spontaneity and play…

Despite the pulsing pop music and comfortable clothes, gyms are not sites of spontaneity and play. There are rules beamed out from video monitors, mostly innocuous ones, like no cursing, “staring” at others, or expressing effort in audible form such as grunts or panting.

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‘Beethoven’s music was more exciting when he was for Napoleon, rather than against him’

‘Beethoven’s music was more exciting when he was for Napoleon, rather than against him’

Beethoven was regarded as enough of a friend to the imperial family that, in 1808, Napoleon’s brother, Jerome Bonaparte, then king of Westphalia...

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Black Panther is not the film we were waiting for…

Black Panther is not the film we were waiting for…

We were waiting for a film like Black Panther, but Black Panther is not the film we were waiting for.  The first sign of ambiguity is the fact that the movie was enthusiastically received all across the political spectrum...

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A priori justification is the basis of our fundamental moral beliefs…

A priori justification is the basis of our fundamental moral beliefs…

Say, for instance, that you believe you have a pain in your back or that there is a computer screen in front of you. What are the justifications for these beliefs?

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Classified: Bears

Classified: Bears

As any good high school student should know, the beaks of Galápagos “finches” (in fact the islands’ mockingbirds) helped Darwin to develop his ideas about evolution.

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‘Much of South Wales and Northern Ireland will exist in a parallel economic universe to London’

‘Much of South Wales and Northern Ireland will exist in a parallel economic universe to London’

When historians examine Britain’s departure from the European Union, one of the things that will puzzle them is the behaviour of the Conservative Party.

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These west Balkan rivers have dark histories, not least because they so often serve as borders…

These west Balkan rivers have dark histories, not least because they so often serve as borders…

Just south of where we’re sitting this morning in Banja Luka’s restored Ottoman fortress, the River Vrbas enters a stunning, winding gorge on its way to join the Sava.

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Same-sex marriage has become a political football in Italy’s elections

Same-sex marriage has become a political football in Italy’s elections

Ahead of Italy’s national elections on 4 March, towns and cities across the country were plastered with posters to “defend the traditional family”

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Byronic Women

Byronic Women

The title of Miranda Seymour’s vastly enjoyable new book is misleading. It suggests that Byron’s wife and daughter tumbled about in the slipstream of a volcanic genius.

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Scrolling

Scrolling

If writing brings with it the notion of scribbling, scribere, tearing, with one’s hand, digital writing perhaps opens the possibility that it is our fingers (digits) that are doing the feeling, walking, seeing, whilst opening...

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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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