Berfrois

March 2019

Ill

Ill

In my early twenties, along with an obsessive but largely un-acted-upon desire to become a writer, I was afflicted by an enduring physical malaise. It is hard now for me to separate these two dominant features of my life at that time

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Puerto Rico and the Politics of Colonial Migration

Puerto Rico and the Politics of Colonial Migration

On January 8, 2019, in a prime-time address from the oval office, President Donald J. Trump argued that the existence of a “humanitarian crisis” required the funding of a wall on the US-Mexico border.

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Entering Brexit Britain

Entering Brexit Britain

I was 25 when I first set foot in Britain in 1995, incidentally the same year Bill Bryson published his bestselling travelogue Notes from a Small Island. Voted by BBC Radio 4 listeners...

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Texting Under Drone-Crossed Skies

Texting Under Drone-Crossed Skies

The war in Afghanistan is now in its seventeenth year and, despite recent attempts to broker a lasting peace, the fight against the Taliban keeps dragging on.

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A feminist paradise for bibliophiles…

A feminist paradise for bibliophiles…

In London’s bustling Soho neighborhood, A.N. Devers’s feminist paradise for bibliophiles is thriving—and changing the way collectors think about the literary canon.

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Jeremy Fernando translates Anne Dufourmantelle

Jeremy Fernando translates Anne Dufourmantelle

At the risk of leaving in a car for dinner in the city and ending up in Rome, the next day, after having rolled all night, because of a change of mind.

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CRISPR’s World

CRISPR’s World

When the journal Science chose the radical gene-editing technology CRISPR as its 2015 breakthrough of the year, the editorial team closed its description on a dire note.

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Terror and Terror

Terror and Terror

The war on terror has always been a war against Muslims. It was conceived as a war that would be fought everywhere, without regard for national boundaries.

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To Be a Chonga

To Be a Chonga

Around the time Fergie dropped her hit “Fergalicious” and the spoof “Chongalicious” followed, many people outside the Latinx community discovered what it meant to be a chonga. Although sometimes referred to by different names such as a chola, pachuca or chuca...

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Interiority Combustion Engine by Ed Simon

Interiority Combustion Engine by Ed Simon

Ann Radcliffe’s 1794 best-selling novel The Mysteries of Udolpho, containing as it does all of the stereotypical accoutrement of its gothic genre, from perfidious Italian counts to dark castles...

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Why didn’t they see Hitler?

Why didn’t they see Hitler?

A few weeks ago, a six-thousand-word article in Esquire on the unexceptional life of a white teen-ager in peri-urban Wisconsin generated a furious online backlash.

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See Their Trees

See Their Trees

My mother cleaned and gardened with a passion I often mistook for rage. After my father left, when I was four, she washed the windows of our three-bedroom house—and the floors, walls, and ceilings—by hand, twice.

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You can keep playing Stardew Valley forever…

You can keep playing Stardew Valley forever…

My Stardew Valley avatar looks just like me — brown hair, bangs, blue eyes, dark t-shirt and jeans. I decided to try this video game to help me relax and cure my recent writing burnout after a semester in my nonfiction MFA program

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Eli S. Evans: Identity Politics

Eli S. Evans: Identity Politics

Here’s the question everyone else keeps asking themselves (ourselves), and each other, and, I suppose, in the case of certain reporters who dare to engage them directly, the actual people under consideration: Why, regardless, of what he does, do they keep supporting this man?

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How translation obscured the music and wordplay of the Bible

How translation obscured the music and wordplay of the Bible

An essential fact about the Hebrew Bible is that most of its narrative prose as well as its poetry manifests a high order of sophisticated literary fashioning.

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Open Galeano

Open Galeano

In at least one instance, a book by the Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano may have saved a life.

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Staying Woke

Staying Woke

In the late ’90s and early aughts, the word woke was a life vest. My parents and the other black people I grew up with used it to stay afloat in a Wisconsin town whose university once feigned diversity by photoshopping a black man onto the cover of an...

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L.E.L.’s Diadem

L.E.L.’s Diadem

Under the pen name “L.E.L.,” Letitia Elizabeth Landon had been one of the most famous literary women of her brief pre-Victorian moment, her poetry a staple of the popular literary press for well over a decade.

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Antisemitism Weaponised

Antisemitism Weaponised

I’m not arguing that centre-right and right-wing critics of antisemitism are antisemitic, but their campaign has a ferocious hygiene about it that carries unpleasant and ironic resonances...

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Lil Peep’s Last Day

Lil Peep’s Last Day

It was five hours before showtime and Lil Peep was in the back of his tour bus, getting high with two young fans...

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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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