Berfrois

September 2018

The Politics of Latinx Recognition

The Politics of Latinx Recognition

In March of this year, 18-year-old South Floridian Emma Gonzalez announced that she was “Cuban and bisexual” in the midst of her battle...

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Justin E. H. Smith: Notes on Hands

Justin E. H. Smith: Notes on Hands

I am haunted by an image I first saw many years ago of a ‘cortical homunculus’: a figure of a sort of man, whose bodily parts are variously shrunken...

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Setsuko Adachi: Flower Fires

Setsuko Adachi: Flower Fires

The audience sat in front of a screen heard ssssssssssssssssss in the darkness. Light flashed. A train appeared on the screen. The train was coming, increasing in size.

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Must-Read Most-Unread

Must-Read Most-Unread

Miss MacIntosh, My Darling is a modernist novel decidedly unconcerned with modern questions. It seems impossible to describe the book in terms of plot or structure. Even the basic operations of character and perspective are not straightforward.

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Loneliness has a history…

Loneliness has a history…

‘God, but life is loneliness,’ declared the writer Sylvia Plath in her private journals. Despite all the grins and smiles we exchange, she says ...

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‘Trees, a field, and sky’

‘Trees, a field, and sky’

A couple of years ago I was living in Knebel, down by Mols. My window had a view of trees, a field, and sky. I carried on long conversations with that view

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Reflections of a DFW Guy

Reflections of a DFW Guy

It is not the fashion in literary assessment to admit that we might have thought differently about a book if we’d read it at another time — older or younger, maybe next week instead of last week.

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Idol Landlords

Idol Landlords

Hindu gods are in a litigious mood these days. Following the struggle by Ram Lalla—the Hindu deity’s infant form—to lay claim to the 2.77 acres of land where the Babri Masjid once stood

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Remembering Uri Avnery

Remembering Uri Avnery

In some ways, Avnery – as the name he chose implies – is emblematic of the Zionist story. At the age of 15, as an admirer of the revisionist Zionist leader Jabotinsky...

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Erica X Eisen: Paint It Black

Erica X Eisen: Paint It Black

Possibly because the current global political landscape resembles less a plausible point on the universe’s long arc towards justice than the dread outcome of a Koch brothers blood-pact with the Lord of the Flies...

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Tinkering with Media and Fiction

Tinkering with Media and Fiction

According to George Slusser, science fiction is "the sole literary form that examines the ways in which science penetrates, alters, and transforms the themes, forms, and worldview of fiction"...

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Foucault, the Drowned and the Saved

Foucault, the Drowned and the Saved

Foucault would have wanted 'very important people of the world' to refer to the refugees, not himself...

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Ed Simon: Last Five Observations about the Moment

Ed Simon: Last Five Observations about the Moment

Panther Hollow hasn’t seen any panthers since the 19th Century. As Oakland increasingly became a cultural waystation ...

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Labour and Anti-Semitism

Labour and Anti-Semitism

It is surreal for the Labour Party to be tearing itself apart over quasi-theological questions about which clauses from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism it will adopt and which it won’t.

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David Beer: Grasping at Upheaval

David Beer: Grasping at Upheaval

In their uncertain but foreboding style, the Jesus and Mary Chain once sang of how heaven is too close to hell. It’s not entirely clear what they were inferring, but it remains an intriguing image.

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All Day Twitter

All Day Twitter

What is it about social media that’s so depressing? I’m asking for myself. And I mean beyond the obvious: that much of the imagery and information presented there accelerates suffering and despair...

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Auerbach’s Simplicity

Auerbach’s Simplicity

"A good writer must write in such a way that one infers from the text what he intended to express. That is not easy.” So declared Erich Auerbach...

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Set the World on Fire

Set the World on Fire

In 1937, the black nationalist activist Celia Jane Allen packed her bags and headed from Chicago to Mississippi. Working for the Peace Movement of Ethiopia (PME), she traveled against the tide of the Great Migration with the specific aim of promoting black emigration to West Africa...

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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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